cover image Never Now Always

Never Now Always

Desirina Boskovich. Broken Eye, $9.99 trade paper (98p) ISBN 978-1-940372-27-3

Boskovich’s haunting novella is a stylized meditation on time, memory, and the bonds of family, both by blood and by choice. Lolo, Gor, and the rest of the “rapt children” live in a closed warren of rooms. They eat and exercise when directed by the Voice, sleep in bunks, and discuss their dreams of villages on the moon or in the canopies of great forests. They have been emptied of their memories, except during “memory duty,” when they are strapped down by their monstrous caretakers and forced to relive otherwise inaccessible parts of themselves. The routine is disrupted when Lolo remembers two things: her sister, Tess, and the act of writing. She begins to keep a diary etched in her own blood, and recruits Gor to help her find Tess and escape. Lolo’s voice is gripping, sometimes pared down to its bones and sometimes expansive and beautiful. Boskovich (The Steampunk User’s Manual) poses questions rather than answering them, and the story’s brevity might leave some readers bereft at its end, but the evocative prose breathes strange life into inanimate details. (July)