Review by Queer Lit
29 October 2020
Speculize by Susannah Heffernan
While many people have been locked away from the world, finding new life for unused game consoles, board games and crafts, someone’s mind’s been on the future.
Susannah Heffernan’s collection of futuristic short stories, poems and vignettes come from a time she describes for herself as “world-building”. When the world around us was locking down because of the pandemic, our imaginations can run wild on how the people in our communities could emerge differently.
We open this book to Seahorses. A wonderfully constructed short story that builds with all the detail you’d hope for if you were expecting to follow someone through a 400 page novel. Matthias the degenerate, an In-valid. Your curiosity builds as Susannah begins to describe this new age from Matthias version of the world, as you slowly discover it’s not the same version for everyone… The Ables. As this is only a short story it would be unfair for me to give much away, other than to say Susannah you’re mean for ending it there!
As we move into Take No Prisoners, the writing style changes into a chaotic, fast rambling which captures the character’s inability to let anyone get a word in before her entire thought process has fallen out of her mouth. While I read through the first two pages of this story, I could not help but think “how could anyone be married to someone this controlling?” The double twist that comes out of the blue had me sat in my chair pondering the true cause of the outcome.
The book closes with what so many have endured over this pandemic, mourning. The narrator gives her story as she passes into the memories and experiences of a loved one. Spilling every magnificent detail as if it were the last written love letter from someone soon to be with their love once more.
A truly wonderful book of short stories that filled our evenings with plentiful reflection.