"on the inside I was screaming curses to Jupiter"
December 8, 2021 7:46 AM   Subscribe

“And to the Republic” by Rachel Kolar is a fantasy story about an alternate civic religion for the US and one sister frantically trying to persuade another: "I didn’t hurry out the door, since that would raise suspicion. Instead, I stopped at the shrines as I always did, lighting my incense to Mercury for a safe commute and to Washington, Lincoln, and the paters patriae for the health of the Republic, before sliding behind the wheel of my car and punching my sister’s number into my cell phone."

Content note: mentions of suicide and torture.

This post is part of a week of highlighting short speculative fiction stories published by online magazines that are no longer publishing, or that are on hiatus, but whose interesting archives remain online! Today: Crossed Genres.

The magazine started in 2008 with a mission to "to give a voice to people often ignored or marginalized in SFF", and closed in 2019. Recent archives, older archives. Authors included Nisi Shawl, Cat Rambo, Athena Andreadis, Rachael K. Jones, Effie Seiberg, Nino Cipri, Fonda Lee, Natalia Theodoridou, JY Yang, Alter S. Reiss, Claire Humphrey, Llinos Cathryn Thomas, Nghi Vo, and many others.

A few other noteworthy stories: the food-centric “Where Do You Go To, My Lovely?” by Yusra Amjad and the cross-cultural “Saving Face” by Shelly Li and Ken Liu. And let's note that Crossed Genres published a story by MeFi's Own Nathaniel Lee (Scattercat): "Sticks and Stones", a fantastical cop story about kindness, cruelty, and words.
posted by brainwane (7 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I read it too fast the first time, on the second reading it was clear what had to happen next.
posted by otherchaz at 8:28 AM on December 8, 2021

Also, a shout-out to Monsieur Caution who pointed to a few Crossed Genres stories in an extensive post of notable sf/f from 2014 that you can read online.
posted by brainwane at 8:35 AM on December 8, 2021

Oh man. I felt her frustration so bad during that story. Just....aaaaaaaaaaaargggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:36 AM on December 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

I think "And to the Republic" is an interesting contrast to a story that brainwane posted recently, "The Notary of No Republic". They take *very* different perspectives on a sort of secular religiosity around the trappings of the American republic.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:31 AM on December 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

Otherchaz, what had to happen next? I liked the story a lot, the feeling of simultaneously wanting to strangle and protect a sibling, the cynicism warring with belief and guilt of working in a terrible system, but the ending left me mystified.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:39 PM on December 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Toni absolutely no way in hell was going to lie about her religious beliefs and would frankly rather pay the consequences for herself no matter how bad they were than lie. However, her sister pointed out that the family would also suffer horrible consequences if she didn't lie and conform. The only way Toni could save the family and her desire to be honest/not lie was to kill herself. That way only she pays the price of her not-correct-belief.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:38 PM on December 8, 2021

...but Toni also forgot (or more likely refused) to light the incense before she died, which made her shrine invalid, and would therefore keep the family under suspicion of associating with a non-believer. (Lavinia could have done it for her, but it seems she was sworn to absolute honesty).
posted by Rhaomi at 8:04 PM on December 13, 2021

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