AN UNDERWATER TALE OF FRIENDSHIP AGAINST MONSTROUS ODDS
When Ceph, a squid-like scientist, discovers proof of the ocean’s slowing currents, she makes the dangerous ascent from her deep-sea civilization to the uncharted surface above. Out of her depths and helpless in her symbiotic mech suit, Ceph relies on Iliokai, a seal-folk storyteller, who sings the state of the sea and has seen evidence of clogged currents as she surfs the time gyres throughout the lonely blue. Navigating the perils of their damaged ocean environment, and seemingly insurmountable cultural differences, Ceph and Iliokai realize that the activities of terrestrial beings are slowing the spiralling currents of time. On a journey that connects future and past, the surface and the deep, the unlikely friends struggle to solve a problem so big it needs a leviathan solution.
Thank you Stelliform Press for sending me a copy of Weird Fishes to review!
I read this incredible novella in just two sittings, I completely fell in love with Ceph and Iliokai, and I found it hard to look away from their journey. Mariz packs so much into such a small number of pages, and I think the story is completely the perfect length.
In typical-me fashion I failed to properly read the blurb before I started reading. So hadn’t picked up that Ceph was a squid-like creature, instead picturing her as a humanoid. But, I actually really enjoyed discovering what she was, it felt like I was really discovering a new deep-sea creature as I read the story. It was only really once she met Iliokai that I really figured it out. I completely fell in love with this sea-faring duo and the fact they’re both outcasts in the sea.
There are content warnings for the book that I’ve put at the end of the review. I urge you to read the authors note at the start of the novella as it gives context for why Mariz included some scenes, and for me they felt justified and a necessary part of the story.
Wierd Fishes firmly sits in the climate fiction genre, and I loved that it’s from the perspective of the sea creatures and watching them try to understand what is happening is heartbreaking. I feel like you usually see it from the human side, so to see it from the innocent creatures that it effects is so novel and effective. There’s a definitely fantasy element to it too which I would have loved to explore further!
I highly recommend picking up this strange little novella and spending an afternoon wrapped up in the story.
Some content warnings for this book if you need them: death, loss and grief, violence, an instance of sexual assault, and mentions of self-harm/suicide. While these scenes are not graphic, the story does touch on some heavy themes.