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The Fountain of Neptune: 04/11/08
With only one story left in the April issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, I have to say it has been my favorite issue since my subscription started. The fifth story, "The Fountain of Neptune" by Kate Wilhelm is an excellent and surprising fantasy set in Florence, Italy.
I read "The Fountain of Neptune" during a break from reading Blood Matters by Masha Gessen. Both tales, one fantasy and one non-fiction center around medicine and end of life decisions. In Masha's case, she decided to face her fears head on and learn everything she could about how her own DNA could be affecting her chances at certain types of disease. The unnamed protagonist in Kate Wilhelm's story does just the opposite; she quits her job and flees to Florence where she will live out the remainder of her life and document every day of it through writing and photography.
Both women though have their horizons' broadened by the choices they make. As "The Fountain of Neptune" is fantasy, the protagonist's decision to go to Italy is justified in ways she would never have expected. Almost until the very end she remains in denial of what she is experiencing, attributing her observations to the symptoms of the disease rather than the magic of the city and it's famous fountain.
In the way that Florence forever changes the life of the ailing protagonist I was reminded of Marlena de Blasi's two memoirs: A Thousand Days in Venice and A Thousand Days in Tuscany.
I somehow let my subscription expire. But I need to renew it. Thanks for the great review and reminder."
I'm glad you enjoyed my review. I hope you get your subscription sorted out. "
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