Review of Swamp City Lament

Something small and bright green has attached itself to one of the moldering crossbeams.

I wrote about another story by Alexandra Duncan (“The Door in the Earth”), which scared me. “Swamp City Lament” is scary in its own way, as it portrays the future of humanity after a fall. Stories that explore that theme are among my favorites.

What really stood out for me in this story, though, was the characters. The terrain and tone were depressing and felt real, but the people were doing what people do: scheming, bickering, and making the best of the world as it was. The main character, Miren, has no memory of the way things were before, and her voice mediates our experience of the strange, rich world. Her familiar teenage rebellion and curiosity counterbalance the sad reality of the story’s future.

“Swamp City Lament” appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction