SH Flashback: “Textual Variants,” by Rosamund Hodge

I'm going to try to post Flashback stories more often than once a week for a little while, to get caught up to my original schedule.

So here's the next Flashback story:

Textual Variants,” by Rosamund Hodge
Adventurers seeking across worlds, plus multiple versions of a multiverse creation story, all in an unusually brief form. (Published in 2006.) (2,700 words.)

She couldn't even tell him the truth about why she felt weak. Because then she would have to tell him who the Warders really were, and who she was, and why she had spent the last three years fleeing across worlds and hunting for shards of the Crystal.

(See also the full list of Flashback stories.)




In 2006, Susan Groppi and David Moles edited an anthology called Twenty Epics, featuring epic-style stories condensed down into a small space. This story wasn't in that anthology, but I feel like it's in the same spirit; sort of the Good Parts Version of a hypothetical much longer work. It manages to do in a couple paragraphs what some stories or novels would take whole chapters to do.

And I love that each scene is vivid and detailed; this isn't a summary of a story, it's more like brief dazzling snapshots. Like the view in a strobe light.

And I like the variants of the gods' story that start each section, too.

And I love part 7. Especially this:

And a stupid little girl wanted to save




And that ending; sweet and lovely and satisfying.

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