“Ghosts of Home” is Out Now in Lightspeed!
The August 2015 issue of Lightspeed Magazine contains my story “Ghosts of Home.”
Rich Horton wrote this very kind review of it in Locus:
“The best story in the August Lightspeed comes from Sam J Miller, who has repeatedly impressed with his first several stories, and who shows a lot of range. “Ghosts of Home” is about the housing crisis of 2008 and its effects on people like the main character Agnes and her mother, but it’s set in a version of our world where household spirits are real. Agnes’s job is to placate the household spirits of foreclosed homes. She’s not supposed to directly interact with them, but when one manifests as a really attractive young man, she has a hard time resisting. It sounds sweet, but the core of the story is much less so, with rapacious banks, sad houses, and a soured relationship between the somewhat messed-up Agnes and her also messed-up mother.”
Over at i09, K. Tempest Bradford said this:
The main thing I love about this story is that it empathizes with a type of person who doesn’t often get empathy. We often hear about those mysterious people out there who vote against their own interests or support politicians, policies, and official actions that harm them personally or harm their community. Writing such people off is easy. Understanding how it is they got to that place isn’t, and that’s one of the things Miller tackles here. I also love the idea of houses having spirits that must be appeased once the house is empty for too long. Highly Recommended.
What makes this interesting is the broken protagonist’s struggle to survive in the dog-eat-dog world of the financial collapse. The protagonist’s stakes in deciding how to handle choices are raised by a recovering-addict’s history of bad decisions, complicated by personal relationships with the local spirits the bank requires its contractor to placate but otherwise ignore… By imbuing homes with souls, insecurities, and emotional risks, the story places the foreclosure crisis on an entirely nonfinancial plane. The protagonist’s successive decisions to act human, instead of enforcing a bank’s soulless values on its surroundings, each invite wonder whether each represents a mistake – like that last descent into addiction’s grip in a decision to score – or represents a step toward redemption. It’s an exciting story with a feeling of real emotional stakes, set in a world built seamlessly and without pause while characters’ actions rivet readers.
Posted on: September 11, 2015, by : Sam J. M.
File under: Blog, New Publications