Saturday, February 4, 2017

"The Grinnell Method" by Molly Gloss


All I know about this story is that Molly Gloss wrote it, that it was published on Strange Horizons, and that Jeff VanderMeer recommends it. It has a feel of The Southern Reach to it.

This is one of those essentially perfect short stories that we all wish that we could or would write.

An excerpt from The Grinnell Method

From the edge of the marsh, she could hear a dog howling, a terrible prolonged wailing of pain or fear, and when she came out on the mud flats a wet black dog was pacing back and forth, lifting its muzzle every little while in a long, loud, doleful cry of anguish. She called to it without coming very near—she knew nothing of dogs, and thought this one might be rabid. The dog went on pacing and crying, looking out across the bay where an oyster boat rolled and heaved on the swell. Several men on the deck of the boat appeared to be casting and retrieving a drag net without recovering anything. The water was too choppy to see what it was they cast for—a man overboard, she feared, and then realized he must already have drowned—that they were casting for a body—or their efforts would have had more urgency. This was not something she could think about for long.
While she stood watching they brought up something heavy and dark, something like a waterlogged stump. The oystermen had seen her watching from the bay shore, and when they had the thing aboard they hoisted it up and displayed it for her, lifting and spreading the arms wide, lifting up the heavy head until the mouth fell open to white teeth, a red tongue. The bear's thick, sodden pelt streamed with salt water. The dog pointed his nose at the sky and suddenly raised a new wail—it seemed to her a sound of terrible bereavement. One of the men on the boat shouted something, but she could not make it out against the chop of waves on the muddy shore.

The "Oyster Catcher" plays a supporting role in this story

The Grinnell Method by Molly Gloss

Part 1
Part 2
Molly Gloss signing a book

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