by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Review by Sam Tomaino
Date: 27 November 2012
Eclipse Online is a free, online publication. No subscription or sign-up is required. A story will be released by editor Jonathan Strahan every first and fourth Monday of the month. The stories stay around for a while. Check them out. Each new story will be reviewed separately. This fourth one, "Firebugs" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, was posted on November 26, 2012.
Our narrator is Jixa, one of six clones collectively called Esta. She and her podsibs are a new strain of clone. There are many other clone groups, male and female, and they all have roles to play in society, from janitors to actors. The Creche Mother is vexed with the Estas. They burned a bush which could have been dangerous. All the Estas are responsible, but Jixa is the one that wants to burn things most. It is hinted that, if the Esta clones do not find a place in society, they will be returned to the vats and there will be no more of them.
Jixa consults with Cara Comfort Mother. If she gives herself up to the vats, will her podsibs survive? Or are there mood-altering drugs that can lessen their passion for fire? Cara suggest they consult with Rain Researcher. Each of the Estas consults with a different Rain. Jixa is separated from the others so that she can be studied. As she finds her destiny we get the kind of beautiful story that Nina Kiriki Hoffman is known for.
Look for this and more stories at www.nightshadebooks.com.