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on Grace by Lawrence Schimel and Susana Vallejo

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Cover art for Grace from Strange Horizons under fair useGrace is a dystopian tale set in Spain in a future not too far ahead for us. Our age is referred to fondly/longingly/nostalgically as The Peak. In the post Peak world, every modern convenience that you can think of is breaking down or already broken– and by this I mean such things as transportation, health care, and food not to mention certain taboos.

The divide between well off and poor is still in existence, it’s just the levels for both are lower. There’s too much of nuthin’ and not enough food even for the “Haves”. Gracia, or Grace, spans both sides of the divide as she travels from the comparative comfort of her boyfriend’s life/neighborhood/world to the old life/neighborhood/world to attend the funeral of her grandmother’s companion.

Through her eyes, the reader sees the deterioration of humanity, its pomps and its works. The trains run less often. The water runs much less often, there are no physicians. There are food riots. The author carefully unfolds this tale skillfully as she carefully unfolds the scenes until the final unveiling of the final horror, the final dehumanization of humanity.

GRACIA on Strange Horizons. LAWRENCE SCHIMEL by SUSANA VALLEJO STRANGE HORIZONS ISSUE 31 OCTOBER 2016