Reviews: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Shorts: The Adjunct

The Adjunct is a fun story that takes a sharp turn from mundane to horror, leveled by a consistent mocking of the absurdity of citation systems and college adjunct expectations. The huge plot twist made me laugh out loud, and it’s a great usage of fantasy amidst every day life.

THE ADJUNCT

Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2018

Spoiler

STORY

An adjunct professor is forced to teach an absurd citation system unique to her college, watching each year as her students fail time and again to perfect it. Events take place during a single day, with a class followed by a few strange experiences, all leading to a startling discovery about the creation of this citation system and its true purpose. It’s absolutely hilarious to make something as mundane as a citation system be a religious ritual text designed to bring monsters to the world. I loved it.


CHARACTERS

The main character is a tired, overworked and underpaid adjunct professor trying to get her students to care and oftentimes failing. She thinks her school is ridiculous in its expectations and, when faced with the final horrifying discovery, she hilariously laughs at the ridiculous situation and marches on to greener pastures. I love taking a bit of horror and pairing it with a protagonist who couldn’t care less and thinks the underlying evil plot is stupid and laughable.


SETTING

The story takes place at a college with confusing practices. The horror scenes are played out in your average college haunts. The dreary adjunct break room. The campus coffee shop. The mysterious ‘restricted section’ hiding in the basement. It’s a fitting setting for a story with similar machinations as Cabin in the Woods, without everything actually coming to fruition.


CONCEPTS

Fantasy, Monsters, College Life, Archaic, Secret Texts, Religious, Ritual

Interested in more stories like The Adjunct? Check out more reviews in our The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction section.

Photo by Jeff Smith on Unsplash

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