Review: “An Offertory to Our Drowned Gods” (Teresa Naval) + destroying everything!

I have two things to tell y’all about today, and those things are: offerings to the ocean trying to kill you, and how to destroy every genre.

Okay, that first point may be a little melodramatic. What I’m actually talking about is a piece of flash fiction from author Teresa Naval. This story comes from the People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction collection, brought to us by Lightspeed magazine. For a little context on this story, I personally live in a landlocked state (we’ve had ONE serious flood but that was … a weird case) but I have many friends who have been effected by the damages of flooding. To me, flood damage is horrifying on many levels as someone who has never gone through it, so I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it is for people that live in places where it happens yearly or more.

What really strikes me about Naval’s story is that it’s not about flooding per se. If you’re like me, you might even think it’s a little Lovecraftian (well, it might be). It describes the aftermath of a flood that is implied to be unnatural–and an epidemic, quite possibly swallowing up the world. But that’s not the focus. The focus is life after. How to survive and everything the damage takes from you. The hopelessness. It even touches on religion and class status. There were times when I felt water clogging up my lungs and the urge to breathe slowly because Naval’s writing is so vivid and personal. We are given hints about the setting through language and the author’s background, but there are definitely times when this could be anywhere and that makes it all the more mysterious and horrifying. At a modest 1200 words this is easily at least my very, very close second story in the whole collection, and that’s nothing to snuff at considering how packed this is with awesome.

“Yeah, that’s cool,” I hear you say. “But what’s this about destroying everything? I wanna destroy stuff.”

Well, I’m glad you feel that way because it means you, reader, need to check out the entire __ Destroy __ series. This is a series of special issues focusing on underrepresented groups wrecking your genre. Horror! Sci-Fi! The upcoming fantasy edition! There are even specials dedicated solely to women and queer folx. If that doesn’t get you excited to destroy* stuff I don’t know what will.

I enjoy having issues that hyper-focus on a specific group because in all honesty that is the only way to discover people like/look like you writing things you like. Yes, there’s more women included in sci-fi lit journals, more POC publishing fantasy. But it’s been a struggle and issues highlighting these writers help, not hurt. Sometimes you have to destroy and deconstruct things to make them better. Don’t be scared! Check out the entire series here and the Sci-Fi edition here.

(*please respect property and don’t actually destroy anything)