Out of all of the works I have reviewed so far I’ve been yet to connect with something that relates to our current situation. Something that creatively reaches out to a readership of people who are trying to stay afloat during this pandemic. In fact, I’ve barely acknowledged it on this blog. Despite burying my head in the sand, I ran into The Chronicles of Lockdownia by Experiments in Fiction right here on WordPress.
This was a really subtle way of acknowledging the devestation of Coronavirus and the current climate, whilst still promoting the belief that this is a temporary situation that we can overcome. The fantasy genre used really captured the idea that we can overcome this, it may be a struggle and include a battle but in the end good will prevail, as it always does in a far off land. This belief is a breath of fresh air, after all the lockdown announcements and daily statistics it’s difficult to keep your chin up. But this selection of short stories has shown the situation in a new light, and reminded me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“The air we breathe, the light of day, food, shelter and most of all love: this is true plenty.”
The way the stories have been crafted has taken some really impressive imagination. Each aspect of the current climate has been personified, the most notable being “Koronin” an evil tyrant responsible for a plague, as the rightful leaders were exiled to the outer lands around “Quarantina”. It’s up to the Queen to help solve the crisis, attempting to overcome obstacles from “Brexicorax”. It’s a nostalgic style, using a mystical type of language that takes away the bleak and uninspired effects of a never ending 2020.
The Queen is an image of hope us, she’s directly speaking to us in an almost distant and magical sort of blog. She is the one that is travelling to Father Winter, and overcoming the obstacles to help her people. The best thing about this story, is how she experiences “Heart sickness” and allows herself time to heal. This needs to be addressed urgently, as what is keeping us all divided right now is the concept of “toxic positivity” where people are constantly told “it could be worse”. Let’s allow and encourage people to feel their feelings and heal from it. I adore how even the Queen is provided with that right to experience the roller-coaster that is human emotion. It’s an essential part of surviving this crisis.
The humor in this collection is also something to be admired. The Queen is clearly lacking in technological knowledge, but manages to put into words how she can relate to music. Particularly, the song Under Pressure. Although comical, I saw this as a reminder to appreciate the little things and how something as common as music can act as an outlet for us during difficult times.
“I listen to the song by those humanoid aliens as I peel potatoes in the evening. I listen to it as I swill out the latrine. It lightens my load a little.”
This collection was a real gift, and I want to thank Experiments in Fiction for putting a smile on my face. After sifting through articles and information about rules all day and sitting through yet another live announcement it’s really nice to read something topical yet not crushingly realistic.