23 Replies to ““Longing for Langalana” in Interzone”

  1. I appreciate the plug, Matt. I’m very excited over the slick, spectacular look of the magazine, and I can’t wait to see the interior art. Once again, a special thanks to my AlteredFluid brethren for the topnotch crits that greatly improved the story.

  2. Mercurio’s story seems to have had an effect:

    “‘Longing for Langalana’ is simply stunning – one of the most moving pieces of SF I’ve read in a long time.” – Ian Whates

  3. First review of Interzone #204 is out at SFRevu: http://sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=4054 .

    “The latest issue of Interzone is as great as ever. One story got an Excellent from me and the rest I rated Very Good.

    The best story is the first one “Longing for Langalana” by Mercurio D. Rivera. In it, we meet Shimera, a female member of the race known as the Wergen. When she was young the Wergen and the people of Earth had started a colonization project of the planet Langalana. The young Shimera falls in love with a Earth boy named Phineas. There is something about humans that makes the Wergen find them incredibly beautiful. The story about Shimera’s doomed love is sad and touching.”

  4. And I forgot to tell that I’ll be running a dealer’s table for TTAPress at LACon IV. So anybody going to WorldCon feel free to drop by in the dealer’s room and say hi!

  5. Thanks for the post, Jetse. I’m happy the story was well received. I’ll be at the San Diego Con in July, but WorldCon is looking iffy right now. I’m not sure whether other AlteredFluidians will be there.

  6. And another IZ #204 review at Best SF: http://www.bestsf.net/reviews/interzone204.html .

    And it’s another corker for Mercurio: “Fortunately, Rivera brings the story off successfully.”; “Rivera and Barras impress[…]”.

    Now, we do have two stories in inventory for Jamie Barras (one for Interzone, one for Black Static), but none for Mercurio D. Rivera…

    (Hint, hint…;-)

    And Eugene: I’ll be happy to meet you in L.A.!

  7. Two more reviews, the first from Tangent Online:


    We begin our review of Interzone 204 with unrequited love. Yes, unrequited love.

    In Mercurio D. Rivera’s “Longing for Longalana,” the entire Wergen species has a crush on humanity. There isn’t a lot of detail on why this is, and the why isn’t that important. All you need to know is that to every Wergen, a human is the most beautiful being in the universe. Humans don’t have any such fascination with the Wergen, but they are interested in the Wergen’s superior technology. And so, a whole host of thorny questions about the nature of love and the ethics surrounding it are raised. There are no answers in “Longalana,” but that’s OK. It’s enough that it asks interesting questions in an interesting way.

    From unrequited love we move on to steampunky goodness. “The Song” by Tim Akers is … a beautifully spun confection that serves well to cleanse the palette after the ruminations inspired by “Longalana.”

    Another review:


    The longest story in this issue by far is ‘Longing For Langalana’ written by Mercurio D. Rivera. In many ways it was rather sad and even deeply emotional in places, reminiscent of something from ancient Greece by Sophocles or Euripides. Mind you, there are those who would say that all plots were invented by the Greeks several hundred years BC and that anything written since is only a derivation of one of these plots.

    Anyway, the story involves a woman of alien nature from a race called the Wergen. Sounds a bit twee and even more so when you learn that her name is Shimera but twee it is not. On the planet Langalana, many years before she fell in love with an Earth boy called Phineas, the women from Wergen think Earth boys are the bees knees and are irresistibly attracted to them. (Where exactly is their planet?) Unfortunately, the love cannot be and the poor woman descends into a sort of melancholy. It must be Phineas’ aftershave.

    I’m now going to look through the Greek tragedies to see where I’ve seen this before. This doesn’t detract from the story. In fact, it puts it on an elevated level which is where it should be. An excellent read!

  8. The Internet Review of Science fiction writes:

    The Wergen species suffers from an uncontrollable attraction to human beings. This love is not reciprocated. Whether it is the physical appearance of the Wergens, or their mating habits, or simply a natural aversion, humans are repelled by their unwanted attentions. Still, the two species have previously found mutual advantage in working together, and the colonization of Langalana is a joint project. On a remote colony outpost, Shimera and Phineas grow up together, and Shimera comes to love Phinny to the point that she refuses to take a mate from her own people.

    This is a story about the suffering of an unrequited love. At one point, Shimera encounters Phinny with his human wife.

    I stopped. “Does she love you, Phinny?” I whispered.

    He nodded.

    “Let me ask you something,” I said under my breath with a ferocity that surprised even me. “How do you know?”

    “Excuse me?”

    “How do you know? How do you know she isn’t just physically attracted to you, that she isn’t just driven by a biological compulsion to propagate your species, to combine her DNA with yours?”

    “Shim . . .”

    “How do you know it’s true love?”

    Good question, Shim. Can any of us ever know what is in the other’s mind? Can we even be sure of what is in our own mind, whether the love that we feel is real, or a chemical reaction? Or whether there is really a difference? But perhaps the kindest thing is not to ask, to let us cherish our illusions.


  9. Black Gate writes:

    “The fiction in the current May/June Issue #204 also leans toward the fantasy side and wouldn’t be entirely out of place in The Third Alternative/Black Static. There’s an overarching theme of irredeemable loss, and while many stories are set in the future or on other worlds, the tales are less science fiction than fabulism. The strongest is the lead story, “Longing for Langalana” by Mercurio D. Rivera, which depicts a species infatuated with human beings and how one member of this race deals with unrequited love in a very human (i.e. not overly sensible) way.”


  10. Here’s another for your ego, from the September 2006 Locus:

    “Longing for Langalana”, by Mercurio D. Rivera, is a sad story of humans colonizing a planet in partnership with an alien species, the Wergen. The aliens have a couple of intriguing features: on marriage they are physically connected, growing ever closer over years. And they are obsessively attracted to humans. But the colonization of Langalana runs into problems (due to a cleverly depicted native species)–and in parallel the relationship of humans and the Wegen deteriorates. This is movingly portrayed by the relationship of the story’s narrator, a Wergen female, with the human boy she meets and is inevitably drawn to as an adolescent. -Rich Horton

    Nice, David! If I come across more I will pass it on.

  11. It’s hard to believe that reviews of my story are still coming out so many months later. Here’s one from HorrorScope:

    “Science fiction blended with inter-species romance; this is the harbinger for Mercurio D Rivera’s ‘Longing for Langalana’. It’s a tale told as though the protagonist is put on a witness stand. Shimera, a Wergen, tells her story to an emissary … the son of the human named Phinny she once loved. Although a little too quixotic, I really enjoyed this one. With strange mating rituals on the Wergen’s part, descriptive language of their beguiling anatomy – and a pesky native of Langalana that cannot be tamed, this opener to the issue will be sure to stay with you long after the last sentence.


  12. I’m happy to announce that “Longing for Langalana” won the Interzone Reader’s Poll for Favorite Story of 2006. The poll results appear in this month’s 25th anniversary issue of Interzone #209.

  13. Pingback: Senses Five Press
  14. “Longing for Langalana” received an “honorable mention” in Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction collection.

Comments are closed.