Short Story Club: “The Cage”

I have belatedly added my thoughts on last week’s story, so now on to “The Cage“, which as a couple of people note, appeared as part of a paranormal romance/urban fantasy month at Tor.com. This was a bit of a stumbling block for, say, Bob Blough, although it seems to have won him over:

“The Cage” by A.M. Dellamonica is more interesting than the urban fantasies and paranormal romances offered this month because it’s not simply regurgitating the tropes of those specific subgenres. Unfortunately, it does involve werewolves (albeit, a standard horror trope) and so I had to work hard to become interested in the story. The writing is much better and the characters are characters instead of ciphers, but the story about a young girl needing to be caged each month at the full moon is old and tired as well. The characters and writing style do make up for these cliches to a certain degree, so I give it a qualified thumbs up.

Matt Hilliard had issues with the worldbuilding:

In fact, I spent the entire story struggling with the worldbuilding. Not the picture it paints of Vancouver, which seemed readily believable (and probably based to a large degree on the author’s experience there), but of everything having to do with the werewolves. It seems that werewolves successfully hid the fact they even existed right up to 2002, but now are helpless in the face of anti-werewolf vigilantes. Most of the action of the story revolves around the struggle to deal with a baby werewolf, and while that was an interesting spin on the werewolf concept, one I hadn’t seen before, it again doesn’t make sense given the story’s invented history. The werewolf’s surrogate mother comes from a long line of werewolves, and yet she seems to be inventing procedures for raising a werewolf baby from first principles. She knows a werewolf society that will take the child in but for reasons never articulated they will only do so at age five, even though it’s clearly in their best interest to keep poorly constrained baby werewolves from bringing disrepute and thus further persecution on werewolves as a whole. Also, I don’t know anything about Canadian law, but the villain apparently traveled to Canada, found a werewolf’s associate, tortured this person to get the werewolf’s location, went there and killed her, and now is in danger of escaping conviction because he said it was self defense. How is that even remotely believable? What about the whole torture thing? Was that self defense too?

Lois Tilon wasn’t convinced by the premise either:

If werewolves, like the normal kind, are pack animals, isolating the puppy is not the way to raise it, and waiting until it is five years old would be much too late for socialization at its apparent rate of development.

The author seems to have gone to a certain amount of trouble to establish her protagonist’s sexual ambiguity in the first scenes, but if this was her intention, it was undercut by the illustration and the too-cutesy blurb: The littlest werewolf has two mommies.

Although it didn’t tip off Pam Phillips:

The tone is light, well sprinkled with chuckles. A pleasant bit of fluff, with just enough peril to keep it from getting too nice.

There is a bit of a gender detection test, which I flunked, despite several obvious clues. Worse, it wasn’t until the third read that I realized that almost everyone in the story is a woman. Except the villains. It all seems utterly normal, which is the point. Eventually, even a lazy reader like me will figure it out. For anyone else who feels dumb about this, the baby is a little clue-impaired himself.

Chad Orzel divines a lack of substance:

The closest thing to a Serious Point in this is having the innocent werewolf saved by Vancouver’s lesbian community banding together to throw a wild party, about which the best thing I can say is that it doesn’t hammer home the parallel between gay rights and supernatural rights as hard as it might. It’s not a story you can hate– it’s a little too insubstantial for that, plus there’s the adorable werewolf puppy– but there’s not a lot here to love, either. It’s cute and clever, and that’s about it.

Evan seems to have liked it most:

Since I don’t read a lot of PR books, I might be missing the people who’re trying to subvert the conventions of the genre, but this is the best piece that I’ve read so far in that vein. Werewolf hunters as psychopaths and sadists rather than bad-ass superheroes is a subversion that resonates with a lot of my complaints about the entire genre, not just its PR subsections (cyberpunk did us a disservice, I think).

The thematic spine of the story is, of course, the ties here between othered communities. Normally, an LGBT community (or another outsider community) springing to the defense of ‘monsterkind’ here would be a bit obvious, but somehow she manages it here without making it too terribly unsubtle. Normally outsider communities don’t like to go around borrowing trouble, but in larger cities, there’s a sense that the more people who band together the more powerful you become. So it makes sense, narrative-wise that the whole community that this women has access to would come out and stand up. This isn’t simple, of course. Just witness the difficulties transgender persons have had getting properly represented by the ‘mainstream’ LGBT organizations. It’d have amped up the realism a bit more to show the phonecalls that she made, so that we could see not just who came, but who couldn’t be bothered and who actively didn’t want to come.

I also like how government is presented as complicated, with multiple levels and factions. Too often, especially in literature coming from the notional left, or from any non-centrist ideological position, that government is one single block oozing evil and simpering henchmen. The evocation of this here wasn’t necessary to the plot, but I thought that it was a nice touch all the same.

Any more for any more?

28 Responses to “Short Story Club: “The Cage””

  1. Short Story Club 2 « Torque Control Says:

    […] Short Story Club: “The Cage” […]

  2. Abigail Says:

    I agree with Lois (and Matt as well, as I recall) that the idea of isolating the puppy until the age of five in order to socialize it makes no sense from either a human or canine/lupine perspective. Plus it doesn’t seem necessary for the story – you could say that Paige is afraid of being followed and discovered if she takes the baby to a known werewolf hangout on full moon nights.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like a fatal flaw in the story’s worldbuilding either. I agree with Evan that the range of responses from civic authorities to werewolves rings true, especially given the obvious parallels drawn between werewolves and homosexuals. We live in a world, after all, in which some bodies of government tries to combat homophobia, while other authority figures enable and even perpetuate it. Matt raises the more persuasive point that there’s something disturbing about the by-now ubiquitous tendency to parallel homosexuals with predatory, man-eating monsters (it’s a complaint that’s frequently leveled at True Blood, I believe), but I think the story manages to avoid the more troubling implications of this parallel by making Chase, essentially, a special needs child (with a very definite whiff of AIDS/HIV paranoia mixed in, which is of course also a reference that werewolf/vampire stories make a lot), and stressing that it’s nurture, not nature, that could make him dangerous – after all, humans can also become deadly if they’re not properly socialized.

    So on the whole I did like this story and thought it was an impressive handling of a pretty well-worn plot and set of tropes. The characters are winning or despicable, as they’re meant to be, and the story is engaging. My one problem is the narrator’s gender, which Pam comments on as well. I caught the reference to her being female early on, but never quite believed it. It seems to me that the story is courting this reaction – from the stereotypically male occupation to her typically male role as the protector of a woman and child in danger – and my sense is that Dellamonica wanted to write a woman whose role and skills are masculine, but ended up writing a woman who sounds more like a man. That could be my issue, of course, and the fact is that I can’t articulate what it is about the narrator’s voice that sounds off. Anyone else?

  3. Matt Hilliard Says:

    For those who might have skipped them, in the comments on Tor.com the author shows up to comment on the way the story presents the gender identity of her protagonist (basically saying she didn’t intend for it to be confusing).

    On an unrelated note, I feel like the subject matter of this story–a baby that eats rabbits and is developmentally required to destroy furniture, a protagonist who learns to like children because this one looks like a puppy instead of a baby, saving the day with a party, etc–would have worked much better in a story that set out to be funny. There’s a lot of humor in these situations but it mostly gets drowned out by we’re-being-stalked-by-bigots gloom.

  4. Matt Denault Says:

    Abigail, FWIW, I thought the narrator “sounded” female from the very first paragraph. Lots of small details. It isn’t very “masculine” to admit that something was “eerie” right from the start, and that it “brought on the gooseflesh”; and the specific construction of the latter is coded female because of goose vs. gander. Also the chatty voice and the final “you know?” at the end of the first paragraph: in conversation men tend to make assertions without such requests for understanding that potentially indicate uncertainty and transfer attention away from themselves.

    After that: Jude’s word choices like “sleazoid” and “papoosed”; the way that she instantly uses Paige and Pamela’s first names in her mind, but Deenie’s last name; the characterization of Deenie as a snake; the slightly demanding way the old-timer library patron treats her (“Ya already read that page.”). Then we get into the tangle that Lela at the infodesk is dating Jude’s ex but Lela still regards Jude as potential competition (because Jude being single makes her nervous), she knows Jude’s type, and sends Paige over. And that’s when Jude says “I wasn’t looking to be anyone’s stepmom.” Which is not just definitive, but indicates a focus on long-term relationships and marriage–which codes as more feminine: the possibility of a hook-up doesn’t enter Jude’s mind (which isn’t to say that it would not for many men, too; the point is the slow accumulation of many minor cultural gender signifiers).

    Other little things after that: when describing the classes offered by the community center, Jude focuses on the ones for moms; she demonstrates an “un-masculine” knowledge of horticulture (“I pointed at a bench under a double-flowering plum”); the “some guy” part of the construction that Paige “was maybe no more than a year out of a relationship with some guy.” And again, that chatty, gossipy “Know what she said?” at the end of the first section.

    I could go on, but you get the idea: it rang true as a female voice to me.

    More later…

  5. Evan Says:

    I’d just note that the protagonist isn’t, strictly, a (straight) woman. She’s a butch lesbian, with an emphasis on the butch. This, I think is what’s throwing people off. I don’t think that there’s any attempt at ambiguity at all, it’s an almost stereotypical rendering of that particular kind of person, which is where a lot of the more subtle humor in the piece comes from, I think.

    I think the idea of isolating the puppy mostly comes from narrative convenience. I didn’t give it much thought, while reading the story, and am inclined now to forgive it as the author not taking too much of her subject matter too seriously.

    Same with the flaky worldbuilding, honestly. The ludicrous idea that you could hide the existence of werewolves et al because people ‘see what they want to see’ is both lazy worldbuilding and elitist on the part of the authors, and I think that Dellamonica plays that up here. The date would have been arbitrary, except that the closer to the present, the more you’re sending up the trope. Setting it very close to the present day would have saved on some work.

  6. Chad Orzel Says:

    Matt H.: Interesting. I didn’t read it as gloomy at all. While they were being stalked by bigots, there was never any real feeling of menace about it. Add the faintly nonsensical premise (killing a werewolf may or may not be legal, but torturing a guy to get the location of the werewolf is just fine?) and it felt like light entertainment all the way through.

    Matt D.: I don’t buy some of your female signifiers. “You know?” at the end of a sentence (or several times in the middle, even) is just as common among men as women where I am, and the worst abusers of “y’know” that I know are men. I have never heard a male-gendered variant of “gooseflesh” (ganderflesh?), and I’ve never noticed it being gender-linked. It strikes me as a little archaic, and I probably wouldn’t use it for that reason, but it’s not a gender-linked effect. Referring to a man by his last name but a woman by her first name is awfully common– I noticed a slight tendency to do this on my own blog a while ago, and I’ve made a conscious effort to correct it. The usage here is also consistent with my new rule– I’ll use first names for people I have met or exchanged private communications with, and last names for people I don’t have any relationship with. And so on.

    If those really work for you, then, well, I guess they work for you. Very few of those items sound especially female to me– “stepmom” is really the only one that I would’ve picked up on.

  7. Rose Fox Says:

    It seems that werewolves successfully hid the fact they even existed right up to 2002, but now are helpless in the face of anti-werewolf vigilantes.

    I’m astonished no one seems to have drawn the parallel to queers being either closeted or in danger. It seemed pretty obvious to me.

    Also, this mostly-butch mostly-lesbian thinks everyone else’s confusion over the protagonist’s gender is HILARIOUS.

  8. Rose Fox Says:

    (And thanks for selecting a lesbian urban fantasy story for the club, Niall; nice to see the diversity here.)

    (I mean, uh, OMG QUOTAS)

  9. Evan Says:

    I’m astonished no one seems to have drawn the parallel to queers being either closeted or in danger. It seemed pretty obvious to me.

    I suppose it is in retrospect. Having lived in a nearly-totally safe place and a totally unsafe place, I never thought of safety as a function of time, or with that level of specificity, just as a matter of where you were and whether it was safe or not. The conversation amongst my friends and people of my acquaintance has always been in geographical terms. Silly of me not to make the connection, though.

  10. Rose Fox Says:

    I never thought of safety as a function of time, or with that level of specificity, just as a matter of where you were and whether it was safe or not.

    Location is certainly key, and the jibe at American support for vigilantes while Canada is somewhat safer also parallels American and Canadian treatments of queerfolk. (I also want to know more about the werewolf separatist communes… er, ranches.) But time does matter, as attitudes evolve and as the number of people brave or reckless enough to come out start achieving critical mass and heterogeneity. In a way, that party at Jude’s place is what a werewolf party might look like in 30 or 40 years after the story is set: werewolf lawyers, doctors, librarians, technicians, musicians, etc. And I think it’s wonderfully appropriate for the lesbian community, which has achieved some measure of safety and security, to lend a hand to this fledgling lycanthrope community that’s still being treated as OMG DANGEROUS CORRUPTERS OF CHILDREN KILL THEM ALL by the population at large.

  11. Matt Denault Says:

    Chad, I was responding to Abigail’s question about whether anyone else thought Jude’s narrative voice sounded like a man. Did you think she did? As I said, it’s not that I found any of the “female” signifiers more than merely suggestive in and of themselves, but that I thought the accumulation of them was indicative of a female voice, especially in the absence of vocal qualities that code as male. Have you ever heard a man use the word “gooseflesh”? I don’t think I have. I have noticed that women tend to refer to famous folks they read about in newspapers and magazines by their first names, while men will more often use first and last: women will say “Jen,” men will say “Jennifer Aniston”; women will say “Brad,” men will say “Brad Pitt.” There was a study a few decades ago published as The Pursuit of Attention that noted the greater prevalence of consensus-building, attention-transferring statements by women as compared to men. Etc. And of course, the ones you mention are the ones least gender-coded: several are more so (I can’t see a man not mentioning any of the activities men do at the community center he frequents, for example). So yes, en mass they “really” do work for me.

    Speaking of gender matters, I note Bob Blough in Niall’s first quoted review seems to have missed the gender of the pup: “the story about a young girl needing to be caged each month at the full moon.” Sigh. This is really a major problem for readers, isn’t it?

    As for the story, I agree with others that I found it clever and cute, but its situations a bit too contrived at times. It’ll make people who agree with its politics happy, but doesn’t rigorously work through its ideas in a way that might convince anyone on the fence. The situation that got me, actually, was the sequence where Pamela discovered she was pregnant and broke up with her boyfriend (why?) and went into solitary hiding for the next 4-5 months, Paige took to wearing a padded belly to work, the baby was born, and then Deenie tortured the boyfriend into revealing where Pamela was. But I thought the boyfriend didn’t know? And I couldn’t quite believe that Paige, who works as a nurse, could fool the healthcare professionals she worked with for months on end.

    That said, I did like what Evan writes about, the sense of ties between othered communities–and more than that, the genuinely speculative/subversive suggestion of another way of treating relationships within a community. What I found lukewarm about the story is the insta-romance between Jude and Paige, the way potential difficult areas turn out to be just misunderstandings (it’s not really her baby, she’s not really into men, she’s not a werewolf, etc.). That said, Jude tells us that she’s had near-parenthood relationships before, which raises the question of whether this one between Jude and Paige will last: what makes it different? But in a sense, while that romance is there for the feel-good crowd, it isn’t really the point of the story I don’t think. The point is how many of Jude’s exes continue to look out for her and be there for her even after breaking up with her. It is, as I say, a non-traditional model of how relationships are handled, one less based on individuals and more on community.

  12. Alyx Dellamonica Says:

    Hi, everyone–I have no idea if it’s cool for the author to pop up at one of these things, so I’ll keep it short by saying: Hi! Thank you all for reading and thinking about my story.

    If it *is* cool and there’s anything you all want to ask about, let me know. If not, I’ll pipe down and leave you to the conversation.

    best,
    alyx

  13. Kelly Says:

    Matt H: the main character didn’t learn to like children. She already did — but had been burned by previous relationships where she’d formed a bond with her partners’ children and then had been removed from the childrens’ lives after breaking up with the parent. That’s in the text, and it really resonates for me.

    The emotional journey for the main character is about taking that chance to love a child yet again, with no guarantee that it won’t end in tears yet again.

  14. Rich Horton Says:

    I didn’t find the gender of anyone in the story confusing — I got all that right away. But I agree with Chad — it’s kind of insubstantial. By no means a bad story, but nothing that I’ll remember overlong either.

  15. Martin Says:

    I’m astonished no one seems to have drawn the parallel to queers being either closeted or in danger. It seemed pretty obvious to me.

    It is a pretty weak parallel. Humanity didn’t suddenly become aware of homosexuality on one day in 2002, it has been well-known (even whilst surpressed) for thousands of years. Nor are homosexuals superhuman killing machines.

    What I found lukewarm about the story is the insta-romance between Jude and Paige

    I’m surprised more people didn’t pick up on this. Yes, the worldbuilding is nonsensical but the characterisation is much worse. Consider their meeting:

    “The info woman says you’re a general contractor.”

    I shot Lela — who’s dating my ex and disapproves of my staying single — a dirty look.

    Jude is a general contractor, Paige needs a general contractor therefore Jude thinks that Lela, who has only just met Paige, must be setting them up. This is particularly disturbing given that Jude has just described page thus: “She looked about nine, underfed, bruised by fatigue.” That is apparently her type:

    I do go for elfin blondes. Lela knows my type. And I was getting an answering vibe — baby or not, Paige looked available and, potentially, into me. But I wasn’t looking to be anyone’s stepmom. She’s vulnerable, I reminded myself. The pressure of a trial, plus grief… her sister’s been dead, what? Four months?

    An answering vibe? Paige has only said eight words to her and Jude is already thinking about being the stepmom to her child! It is a glib, wannabe cute story that falls apart under any inspection.

    Finally, I am a man and I’ve never said “gooseflesh”. But that is because it is an Americanism and I say goosebumps instead.

  16. Martin Says:

    Speaking of gender matters, I note Bob Blough in Niall’s first quoted review seems to have missed the gender of the pup: “the story about a young girl needing to be caged each month at the full moon.” Sigh. This is really a major problem for readers, isn’t it?

    It’s not like it is at all ambiguous from the text. Also, and bizarrely, both Tilton and Orzel think the narrator is called Jules rather than Jude. More haste, less speed?

  17. Rich Horton Says:

    Martin’s point about the instaromance being a weakness is valid, too.

    Americans say “goosebumps” far more often than “gooseflesh”, though the latter is current here to be sure. Maybe “gooseflesh” is really a Canadianism?

  18. Rose Fox Says:

    The insta-romance is very clearly derived from sterotypes (which have some basis in fact) about lesbians and U-Hauls. If you’re not familiar with lesbian relationships and communities, this will seem more ridiculous and less hilarious. I thought it was spot-on. I definitely have friends who will go to great lengths to set up anyone available.

    Also, when you’re part of a tiny minority and the field of date-able people is really small, yes, you do size up pretty much anyone you meet who might possibly be both interested and available, because it’s not like there are a lot of options out there–especially when, like Jude, you’ve more or less dated your way through the entire local community. When fresh blood shows up, everyone zooms in, thinking either Maybe she’ll like me or Maybe I can set her up with a friend.

  19. Rose Fox Says:

    TL;DR: This is a paranormal romance story for lesbians and there are going to be aspects of it that don’t make sense to people who don’t know much about a) paranormal romance tropes (the insta-romance is also a big one there) and b) lesbian culture and community. I don’t think that’s a flaw in the story. It’s just got a target audience.

    Also, paranormal romance is so relentlessly heterosexual that a lot of queer women I know were falling over themselves in praise of this story just because it isn’t. So I readily admit that I’m willing to forgive a lot just because for once there are characters like me and my friends in a story like this.

  20. Martin Says:

    That insta-romance is a trope of paranormal romance doesn’t excuse it; that it is a trope of real life lesbian relationships might. I guess I will have to plead ignorance and recuse myself as not the target audience. I’m still sceptical though. Lela has an exceptionally well calibrated gaydar to instantly clock this young single mother with a DIY request as queer. Or does she just do the same for every young women who crosses her path on the off change that they are available? This doesn’t seem particularly efficient in a city the size of Vancouver.

    If the plot and the worldbuilding had made sense, I could probably have overcome this. But they don’t so this is the third strike for me.

    Out of curiousity, I just looked up gooseflesh. It seems like it is just one of many regional variants but I did liek this gem of a paragraph from the wikipedia entry:

    It is not clear why in English the particular fowl goose was chosen, as most other birds have this same anatomical feature. Some authors have applied “goose bumps” to the symptoms of sexually-transmitted diseases. Certainly being “bitten by a Winchester goose” was a common euphemism for syphilis in the 16th century. “Winchester geese” was the nickname for the prostitutes of South London, licenced by the Bishop of Winchester in the area around his London palace.

  21. Ziv W Says:

    I enjoyed the story; like some others here, I thought there was some great handling of familiar tropes. Working in caring for a werewolf child was very interesting for me; it was an interesting and compelling stake for me to read about. The lesbian narrator (and community) was also refreshing – I didn’t feel like it had a direct impact on the story (which fits well with complaints of ambiguous gendering), but in retrospect it adds a layer of meaning I liked (more on that later).

    I do agree with the plausibility issues raised here, the instant-romance and the we’ll-take-care-of-the-child-but-only-after-you-suffer-first; another thing that annoyed me was Paige’s coming to rely on Jude so quickly when she distrusts everybody else. But I was able to mostly put these aside; they were the formula part of the story rather than the focus. The focus of nurturing a child, raising it to be what IT is and give it what IT needs, but having to keep that a secret from everybody else – that was interesting; that resonated.

    Martin’s perfectly right that werewolves/homosexuals isn’t a strong parallel, but there is enough here to give it some power. If you focus on the need to nurture in secret, then yeah, LGBT’s got that in spades – “you can do whatever you want as long as nobody finds out about it.” It’s also pretty nice that the climax, keeping Chase’s “condition” concealed, was carried off by hiding it behind a lesbian party – masking what’s not accepted today by what wasn’t accepted yesterday; that’s a pretty hopeful signal for Paige and Chase’s future. (I was just reading Cavalier and Clay, where a similar party is arrested wholesale. Yay for cosmic juxtaposition there…)

    Even leaving LGBT aside, I think the central issue’s an interesting one. It’s common to see children in stories needing special training, and that’s great for everybody who felt that what was offered as “education for everybody” was woefully misplaced for himself (I’m assuming that’s just about everybody). But this story places the focus on the need for secrecy, on the fear of being found odd or different. Not even challenging the necessity of that fear – trying to make a place for oneself in the world, to justify one’s existence – but accepting it, hiding, being satisfied with surviving even for just right now. I don’t think I’ve seen many stories addressing this particular aspect, and I definitely enjoyed it.

  22. Lois Tilton Says:

    [sigh] It wouldn’t be the first time that Tilton has missed on a name.

  23. Patrick H Says:

    Right, well, initial reaction without reading the other comments…

    Hands up: I am probably not the target for this story! I like my horror cliches undeconstructed rather than being sold as another lifestyle choice. Additionally, the metaphorical point about gay rights is nicely made, but I’m not a guy that needs convincing. When I read a very partial story like this, no matter how much I agree on an intellectual level, I begin to feel contrary and wonder why the bad guy is such a cardboard cut out, and why the good guys are so stifling and smug.

    I dunno, I’m painfully politically correct, but this stuff is like a red rag to my inner Clarkson. I admit, this is a personality flaw on my part!

    On the whole the prose was slick and clean without being exciting or intoxicating: I didn’t laugh; nothing caught in my chest. It sort of slipped down without touching the sides. I probably could have done without the section where Jude recounts her romantic history to the wolf boy while standing on the the table: that set off my “do people really behave in that way?” alarm.

    I found the romance a little lacking, but I’m no expert on these types of story. I like a good proper love story, I’m old fashioned that way, but this had the deliberately affectless post-slacker-seen-it-all thing going on which robbed it of passion. Jude seems keener on the baby than she does on Paige: the baby at least seems to draw real, physical emotional reactions from her, while the best that can be said about Paige is that she’s “my type”.

    This wasn’t a bad story by any means, but, well, not my thing. The slick prose and easy-to-swallow political point of view lacked enough gristle or grain to get me past my own natural aversion.

    And now I am off to drink wheat grass juice and black tea in an attempt to drown my inner Clarkson.

  24. Ziv Wities Says:

    @Alyx:

    Hi there! I’m hardly any kind of spokesperson for this group, but just wanted to acknowledge your post and your presence. I think Rose Fox summed it up nicely on a similar previous occasion:

    I’m intrigued that you decided to join the conversation; it’s good to have your perspective, but I hope it won’t shift things from interrogating the text to interrogating the author. In that light, I, at least, will attempt to treat your comments as though they came from another reader, though this might not be successful.

    So thanks for stopping by, and thanks for understanding :)

  25. Matt Hilliard Says:

    Normally I am very critical of insta-romance in movies (whose format, like that of the short story, makes it difficult to show things that happen gradually) but here I didn’t mind…they hardly leap into each other’s arms and the story takes place over three months.

    As for the scene in the library, the narrator’s instant and prolonged consideration of relationship potential at a point where there was absolutely no information about availability, interest, etc. struck me as, to use Abigail’s phrase, stereotypically male (as did the narrator’s constant references to previous sexual partners both in the internal monologue as well as in dialogue). Once I had the narrator’s identity sorted out I found this plausible behavior for a butch lesbian.

    Finally, I agree with the Rose Fox quote from Ziv re: authors, and I’d add that perhaps a good strategy would be to wait for discussion to die down late in the week and then post some of your thoughts, reactions, etc. That way the discussion has run its course without turning into an interview, we all still get to hear what you have to say, and it might give the discussion a second wind.

  26. Being clubbed | A.M. Dellamonica Says:

    […] also find out about things like this: a couple of book clubs that have been looking at me lately: Torque Control’s Short Story Club read “The Cage,” a few weeks ago, and now editor Cleilie Rich has let me know I am to be Ms. August in the 2011 […]

  27. Short Story Club Post-Mortem « Torque Control Says:

    […] “The Cage” by AM Dellamonica [discussion] […]


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