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The Pigeon Summer

liked it 3.00  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  15 reviews

Talking to ghosts has its dangers -- and its rewards.

A Tor.Com Original

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Kindle Edition, 22 pages
Published May 11th 2016 by Tor Books
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May 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Dear ghost,

I would know if you were C., and you’re not. I guess you’re my roommate now.

I’m writing because I don’t want to hear the sound of my own voice.

Hope you don’t mind.


i gotta admit, this story irritated me. and, yes, part of it had to do with me stumbling over the gender neutral pronouns si and hir. it's an objection i have on a purely linguistic level - if you know me, you know this and if you don't - welcome to me: i don't care what your plumbing looks like, what the plumbing of the
Alex Sarll
It's not that I dislike plotless epiphany short stories per se, even if there are too many of them. Or even that I dislike them sneaking into genre outlets despite having only the most debatable speculative elements (because as far as I'm concerned, the more territory is acknowledged as speculative fiction, the less territory the surving litfic snobs hold, and that has to be a good thing). I certainly don't have a problem with the protagonist's non-standard gender and pronouns. Fundamentally, ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
J.’s best friend and soulmate has died, and hir doesn’t know how to continue. And hir believes she’s being haunted by a ghost, and writes the ghost letters about her grief. Interesting use of gender-neutral pronouns. I liked that about it, and J.’s struggle with grief felt very real. But I wish the speculative element had been emphasized more. 3.5/5

Available to read for free:
We all enjoy mysterious, atmospheric stories. However, when there is no explanation whatsoever and no meaning behind anything... well that is just annoying.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I may be in the minority of people giving this short story a 5 star review. At first I was surprised at the use of gender neutral pronouns (si/hir), but I've come to accept it as I read through, knowing that the use of this shouldn't be judged, as in these times I believe we are all free to be respectful of each other's choices of words, choices of pronouns we'd like to use, and in this case, Mandelo writes a story with a queer protagonist, and that's okay. This style of writing is not something ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A story of surviving with crushing grief. Nicely done.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: supernatural, lgbt
This beautiful short story follows J., that recently loss the most important person in hir life. Si tries to escape hir pain and the world, looking hirself up in an apartment with a huge pile of food to avoid having to get out and face the reality. In hir sorrow, si starts communicating with a ghost in writing, and looking after some pigeons just hatching outside hir window.
May 23, 2016 marked it as to-read
I found the gender neutral pronouns so jarring that I couldn't get past the first couple of paragraphs. This may be due to the fact that English is not my first language (in fact it's my 3rd, as the area where I live is bilingual).
My mother tongue and 2nd language are latin-based and therefore all words are gendered: a lamp is masculine in one language and feminine in the other, as is your knee, a fox, a pear tree, etc. The police is femenine, while firemen are masculine. As you can see, the
Talking to ghosts has its dangers — and its rewards.

The Pigeon Summer, despite that cover or that blurb, is not actually horror. I would categorize it most as speculative fiction, in which the existence of the ghost is more or less a matter of perspective. J, the gender neutral protagonist (I am going with gender fluid/agender, since it mentions coming out), is mourning for a lost love/friend. The death was quite recent and in the aftermath, J has been living alone in a run-down apartment,
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, short-stories
this is a heartbreaking story of grief, and i adored that mandelo wrote a genderqueer protagonist without giving a narrative reason. lgbta+ characters have every right to exist without there being a "reason" provided in the narrative, just like cis het characters. so that was a wonderful aspect.

unfortunately i felt vaguely underwhelmed while reading this, due to the strangely awkward phrasing and wording. it was probably trying to go for poetic, but didn't quite work for me in lots of places,
Maggie Gordon
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Very light on the speculative fiction aspects. Deals with a person trying to cope with the sudden death/maybe suicide of their best friend/lover/soulmate, and writing to a "ghost" to talk our their pain. Author chose to use gender neutral pronouns for the protagonist which was an interesting reading experience given I so rarely see that in mainstream fiction.
May 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-story
An interesting read. I enjoyed it, though it seems inappropriate to say that considering the tone of the story!
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
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Jul 06, 2016
Chris Hyde
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May 11, 2016
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May 17, 2016
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Jun 03, 2016
Kira Nerys
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May 12, 2016
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Jun 25, 2018
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Aug 31, 2016
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