Dancy vs. the Pterosaur • 2015 • Postapocalyptic short story by Caitlín R. Kiernan

★★★

Synopsis In a postapocalyptic setting, a wandering girl Dancy Flammarion, full of religious superstition encounters a wannabe scientific girl Jezebel Lilligraven – „named after a whore and an idolator“ – under the threatening wings of a dragon or pterosaur. Both bring forth arguments what it would be and reveal a lot about their upbringing. But Dancy has a mission to fulfill and goes fight the dragon with her knife:

Dancy pushes the thought away, because self doubt’s as dangerous as books that say people evolved from monkeys and slime.

Review Lots of U.S. folklore and atmosphere which is quite foreign for me. Dancy’s mother has been reading many good books to her daughter, like Bram Stoker’s Dracula („All men are mad in some way or the other…“), H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds („softened almost into melody“). But none helps against her thoughts of Noah’s flood, and Adam and Eve versus dinosaurs. I’ve never met anyone who believes in creationism, so it was an exotic setting and discussion for me. Somehow, the scientific girl knew how to argue and what to expect from creationists, which is something I couldn’t stand against, as I would be speechless or maybe furious.

And then, Dancy comes up with something which is not from the Bible – the dragon – and Jezebel with something absolutely unscientific like a Pterosaur coming through a timewarp.

Dancy is a real interesting character: in her world, monsters are very much real and she may – or may not – be guided by an angel. I don’t know if she is a deluded girl, a monster herself or really fighting a holy war.

The short story seemed to be cut out of a larger sample, missing beginning and ending. Now, I found out that it is in fact part of a series around Dancy Flammarion. I guess, I have to take a deeper look into that one.

 

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