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Birthday Reviews: Susan Casper’s “Mama”

Birthday Reviews: Susan Casper’s “Mama”

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction August 1984-small The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction August 1984-back-small

Cover by Paul Chadwick

Susan Casper was born on May 8, 1947 and died on February 24, 2017. Casper was married to author and editor Gardner Dozois.

Casper’s first story was “Spring-Fingered Jack” in 1983 and in 1988, she co-edited the anthology Ripper! (also Jack the Ripper). Other stories included “Covenant with a Dragon,” “Nine Tenths of the Law” and “Up the Rainbow.” Her short fiction was collected posthumously in Up the Rainbow: The Complete Short Fiction of Susan Casper and she also had a novel, The Red Carnival, published posthumously.

“Mama” first appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Edward L. Ferman, in the August 1984 issue. It would be reprinted in 2017 in Up the Rainbow.

Gloria’s mother is over-bearing and somewhat typical of a Jewish mother in “Mama,” although she could have been just as stereotypical had she been a mother of numerous other ethnicities. The key is that she disapproves of Gloria’s life choices and while Gloria is just trying to live her own life, suffering from a sudden breakup with the boyfriend she didn’t seem to have much invested it, her mother is trying to “fix” her life, making it better in the only way she knows how.

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