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"Fragrant Goddess": 12/06/07
The seventh story in October/ November issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction is yet another ghost story. The editors call it "an interesting counterpoint to Albert Crowley's tale."
The story starts as a reunion between old lovers. They are older and the narrator is a little beat up with the passage of time. He's wondering if his ex will still be interested in him even though she his married and with a school aged daughter.
During their reunion she mentions finding the recipe for a legendary elixir called "Fragrant Goddess." From there the story spirals back in time to explain the importance of this great find and frankly I started to lose interest.
Eighteen pages just aren't enough time to build as complex a story as Paul Park is attempting here. The story spirals further off center and ends up with a similarly ambiguous ending as "Recreation Room." Except without the prophesies of Madame Lock, the ending here is less fulfilling.