Mini Review: “Weird Fishes” by Rae Mariz

Release Date: August 18, 2022
Publisher: Stelliform Press
Genre: Fantasy


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.

My Thoughts

This was really creative and interesting! The cover copy above gives a nice summary of Rae Mariz’s novella, but there is a striking amount of depth for such a simple plot. Mariz touches on the patriarchy, colonialism, racism, environmentalism, etc. This isn’t just about humans destroying the oceans; the ocean floor intelligence Ceph is a member of are just as powerful, stratified, and destructive as their above water cousins. 

Mariz does a fantastic job conveying the uniqueness and non human-ness of the underwater beings, the way they communicate, the way they interact with their environment, the way they move through space and time. Fantastic cover by Julia Louise Pereira!

Content warning for a sexual assault scene near the end. It isn’t gratuitous or graphic, but the long-term implications of what will happen to the character that experiences it make the act feel even more intense.

Buy it at (affiliate link)

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