This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.
Published: February 2016 in Beneath Ceaseless Skies where you can read or listen to the story for free
Setting: it felt like a Middle Eastern country, with airplanes and taxis, but no cell phones
Summary: The story is told by Bethenica Morning, the household manager for her Chief, Nahemiah Froll. Froll wants to acquire a new piece of sculpture, the Three Dancers of Gizari, and she sends Bethenica to buy it from the artist. The artist doesn’t want to sell, so Froll invites him to her estate to change his mind. He’s convinced to lease it, but puts Bethenica’s name on the lease, not Nahemiah’s.
Final thoughts: Bethenica was well fleshed out as a character. She grew up poor and constantly kept the price of everything in her mind. I didn’t understand the reason why the artist wanted to lease the sculpture to Bethenica. Did he appreciate her response to the sculpture? Did he want her to be with him? Did he just want to keep it from Nahemiah Froll? That was a big question for me. Then the author leaves Bethenica’s choice of whether or not she will sign the lease open. Oh, so frustrating! I wanted to know if she would throw it all away for a chance to keep the sculpture or if the lure of a steady job and good money would be too much for her.
This was barely a fantasy story. The only fantastical element was the fact that the substance the sculpture was made out of would emanate a feeling. The feeling depended on the piece of stone. It didn’t hurt the story for the lack of fantasy. It would be appropriate for anyone who isn’t a big fan of fantasy since the world felt so real around the characters.
Title comes from: the piece of art Nahemiah Froll wanted to obtain was called the Three Dancers of Gizari