You’re probably sick of hearing “Representation matters!” but guess what? Brian McAuley brought representation in beautiful ways in this story while never making a single second of it feel like tokenization.
Fiona, the sister in the novella, has juvenile idiopathic arthritis, affecting her joints, making it more difficult to walk or even balance at times. McAuley really impressed me by including one phrase, “fatigue naps.” And maybe that means nothing to some of you, and that’s okay. I have spent a lot of time around people who have to take fatigue naps and that one little added detail instantly made me love McAuley’s writing.
The story’s ability to remind us of Fiona’s issues in ways that were natural to each situation was top notch and really added another layer to this story for me.
Fiona’s brother Austin is gay and struggles with his sexuality and identity. He faces some harassment from his peers, but worries more about how his best friend (and crush) will react. He also has a strained relationship with his parents who seem unaware of his orientation.
These uses of representation increase the complexity of the story and the characters while additionally challenging the stereotypes we so often see in horror, which is always nice to see.