READ IT HERE: "Charms"
BY: Shweta Narayan
IN: Strange Horizons
Among the awards given out for the writing of science fiction and fantasy is the John W Campbell award for a work published within the last two years by an emerging writer. John W Campbell was the famous editor of Analog back in one of SF's golden eras. He died in 1971, and is still honoured each year by the presentation of this award.
Emerging writers are eligible to be nominated for two years for this award, and Shweta Narayan is in her first year of eligibility. At Morva House we've read her story "Nira and I", about girls caught up in the turbulence of change and reactionary counters to change.
In "Charms" we again see feminism as an issue.
Set in a world of witches and wizards, where many wizards were lost in the war and where magical charms can be bought at the local store, we meet a woman named Edith. Edith was young once, but is not old yet, of course. In her youth she had aspirations, but education was not permitted to women back then. Now young women are demanding more and more rights, but where does that leave someone like Edith? She's not part of the new opportunities. Her peers don't believe she ever wanted more than she has, and the young ones have left her behind.
There's a bitterness in this story, redeemed only by the slight hesitation at the end.
See what you think.