Tammy Pendant

Published in Asimov’s, March 2004


“From the writer’s bio we learn that Chris Beckett has been a social worker, a career that judging from “Tammy Pendant” lends a tint of gritty nastiness to one’s worldview. The title character is a problem teen caught in the ministrations of the British social service. We meet her in between foster homes, suffering the attentions of psychologists and caseworkers. Tammy is bitter and angry. She alienates everyone who might otherwise care for her. All the kids at the center where Tammy now lives know about the Shifters, a group of people who can move between worlds. Here’s Tammy’s self-defined salvation. She seduces a Shifter, steals his bag of magic pills, and takes one, only to be caught by the police and brought to the hospital to have her stomach pumped. The system, it seems, won’t let her go. Does the experience change Tammy? That would be telling. Suffice it to say that this is an excellent story with a mean streak that’s true to the very end.” – Jeremy Lyon, Tangent

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