“Thirteen Steps in the Underworld” by Su-Yee Lin
Card picked: Ace♦
Found at: Tor.com
*peers suspiciously at her list of stories and her cards*
Another story about a married couple. Maybe I always have this many stories about married people in my Deal Me In selections, but right now I’m noticing every one I come across. After all, marriage is a fairly common thing…
This is, not surprisingly considering the title, a tale of a man entering the underworld to find his wife. Unfortunately, our protagonist is not Orpheus. He’s a high school chemistry teacher from New York. He goes about entering and serching the underworld in as rational a manner as possible. He makes lists. He tries to make his way logically even as he starts to forgot things like his own name. In the process, we learn about his relationship with his wife and her death. It’s a lovely, bittersweet story.
Su-Lee Lin is a talented short fiction writer, whom I was utterly unfamiliar with. Luckily, I have lots of opportunities to become more familiar with her works!
The first section of the First Nights music classes at edX covered Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, which is a retelling of Orpheus and Euridice. Below, from the class, is Act II, given an English language translation. We start with news of Euridice’s death: