Editor’s Choice Award August 2022, Fantasy

The Editors’ Choices are chosen from the submissions from the previous month that show the most potential or otherwise earn the admiration of our Resident Editors. Submissions in four categories — science fiction chapters, fantasy chapters, horror, and short stories — receive a detailed review, meant to be educational for others as well as the author. This month’s reviews are written by Resident Editors Leah Bobet, Jeanne Cavelos, and Judith Tarr. The last four months of Editors’ Choices and their editorial reviews are archived on the workshop.

Brightgloam by Peter S. Drang

This is fun. I like the way it embraces its weirdness—the colors, the shapes and distortions, the synesthesia. There’s an off-the-wall sweetness about the meet-cute and the way the two characters mirror each other’s transformations.

I have some questions about how it all works. Is there any sense of the physical shift? Do people have to adjust to the changes in their bodies? Balance would change, movement would be different. Viewpoints—what happens to vision when both eyes are on the same side? Obviously in a short-short, you won’t want to go into detail, but maybe a line or so, a quick sketch of the feel as well as the smell and taste and sound and sight?

I’m not quite convinced by the beginning of their meeting. It seems as if there needs to be just a hair more to her invitation. A glance, a turn of the head. Some indication as to why she does it. Is it the fact that they’re mirror twins? That she’s looking for a perfect moment, and she believes he’s the perfect one to share it with? Even if it’s pure impulse, it feels as if we need more of a sense of that.

Same applies to the parting. He gets distracted, but why is that a dealbreaker? Is she that strongly opposed to any variation on The Question? If so, why does she agree to meet him again tomorrow? Why not try again today? Why not do a reboot right then and there? What makes it essential that they wait? Can they even trust that the world will be the same, or that they won’t be transformed out of all recognition?

None of this needs a lot of wordage. A line or a phrase would do it. Just a touch of clarity, to make it all shine brighter.

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