Skip to content

F&SF MiniReview: The Bird Shaman’s Girl by Judith Moffett

The Bird Shaman’s Girl was the longest piece in this issue. Like The Diamond Shadow, it is helped greatly by the sense of it being a single facet of a universe. In this story, the universe which involves a race of aliens known as the Hefn invading Earth.

The story centers on Pam Pruitt, a human Liason Officer for Child Oversight working for the Hefn, and Lexi, a young child actress who was pulled out of an abusive Ephremite family and made one of Pam’s cases. The Ephremite Church sounds vaguely like a mix between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Catholic Church, but I say that without being an expert on any of the aforementioned groups.

Pam and Lexi developed a strong bond; when Lexi turns up missing, Pam jumps into action, desperately trying to track down the missing girl. Due to some deus ex machina, she quickly determines who is holding her and where.

The story would make an unsatisfying mystery if it were presented as such. Instead, the focus of the story are the ‘deus ex machina’ moments, and the meaning behind them. The story really pulls itself toward this end through the inclusion of Humphrey, Pam’s Hefn boss. His idiosyncratic behavior adds some humor to the story, but the reverence (or fear) the other characters seem to show to him and his race does much to imply the power his people wield.

Overall, I enjoyed this piece quite a bit, my only complaint being that I wish it were longer. On the plus side, the author blurb at the start of the story mentioned that Ms. Moffett is working on a new Hefn novel of which “this story forms a part.” I will be on the lookout for it.

Back to the main article