Review of “To the editor: Monsters belong in schools” by Zella Christensen

As the title implies, this story takes the form of a letter to the editor, echoing nicely all polite sneering and the righteous indignation often found in such missives.

At issue is the time-honored tradition of keeping various monsters in the dungeons of schools. The letter-writer concedes an earlier point from a “well-intentioned” Miss Tickal that monsters are involved in student deaths. The counterproposals appear modest at first glance, intentionally mimicking those of politicians who support arming teachers or teaching students CPR in order to decrease the body count resulting from school violence.


The author’s points are well-taken, and the short piece cute, but I did not care for it. I love tongue-in-cheek. It is my native language. I respect that the author took the time to compose the piece in the classic form. Ms. Christensen knows how to write. She is not banging away at the keyboard. Perhaps it was the attempt to meld fantasy magic schools with a grim reality that stumped me, but this work, for all its positive points, just didn’t do it for me.

According to her website, author Zella Christensen grew up in southeastern Wisconsin and recently graduated George Mason University in Virginia with a BFA in fiction writing. She called her writing fiction and “speculative poetry,” a genre she describes as having roots in science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

The story can be read  here.

Title: “To the editor: Monsters belong in schools”
Author: Zella Christensen
First published: Daily Science Fiction, August 27, 2018

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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