by Catherine Mintz

Review by
Robert Wilfred Franson
Tomorrow SF, Summer 1997

collected in —
First Light
Peacock Dancer

January 2014

Spirits of the Seasons

The four Seasons have been personified and mythologized time out of mind, so it is surprising to see a modern treatment which lingers, adding a little piece to one's mental furniture. "Summer-Witch" by Catherine Mintz is a fantasy short story succeeding at just that:

Summer awoke, as she had awakened many times before, on the broad breast of the hill, the shattered remains of her brown husk around her, and the blue sky overhead. Her legs pointed down the hill, to the south, to the sun. She sat up.

To her left was the open grave of the spring-warlock, his head to the top of their hill, his legs to the east. To her right lay the grass-grown mound of their brother, the autumn-warlock of this domain. The fourth mound — that of their winter-witch, the sister whom Summer never saw — completed their circle of four.

Mintz lightly brushes in the foreground of her story, and only sketches some interesting background; a heavier touch would likely fail, as this isn't a brief version of a pseudo-realistic novel, and a long length would render over-heavy the mythic elements. It follows Summer's viewpoint — nurturing, practical, tough — in her portion of one cycle of seasons. "Summer-Witch" is clearly told yet mythically suggestive, reminding me somewhat of the episodes in Robert Graves' classic reference, The Greek Myths.

Catherine Mintz' evocation of her Summer Witch has lingered in my mind for nearly a dozen years already.


© 2014 Robert Wilfred Franson

Catherine Mintz — author site
& her genre-news blog Origami Unicorn


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