The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson. ★★★1/2
Trigger warning: Self harm
The Murders of Molly Southbourne is a story that works perfectly for its novella length.
Whenever Molly bleeds, a copy of herself is created. The Mollies may be friendly at first, but within a few days, they’ll inevitably turn vicious and try to kill the original. On the isolated farm where Molly lives with her parents, they’ve been preparing her for a life of constant danger. If she wants to live, she’ll have to spend her whole life killing girls who look just like her.
As you might expect from this sort of childhood, Molly is a bit unusual. She’s cold and detatched, which I suppose she has to be to survive. Her unusual circumstances have basically forced her to become a serial killer starting from a really young age. She was a hard character to connect with, part of why I found The Murders of Molly Southbourne intellectually interesting but not emotionally engaging.
The explanation of why this is happening to Molly is pretty vague. The Murders of Molly Southbourne takes place in a near future where human fertility has fallen to levels making the survival of the species precarious. This may tie into Molly’s special biology, but it’s left as a loose background sketch. The focus of the novella is on the story of Molly’s life.
While I don’t know if this sci-fi horror novella lived up to my high expectations, I did enjoy reading it. If Tade Thompson is ever to publish a sequel novella (and I hear one’s in the works!), then I’ll be sure to pick it up.