Book Cover
Title The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family
Series ---
Author Usman T. Malik
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing Written Backwards - 2014
Category Science Fiction
Warnings None

Main Characters

Tara, Sohail

Main Elements Demons


This story is free to read at the link provided, and was originally part of the anthology Qualia Nous.

Alright, I guess you could already tell I had some problems figuring out exactly what genre this story was as I categorized it as Science Fiction but put the main element to be demons. In fact it is likely neither, but rather using science as metaphor.

As energy is added to matter, matter moves through various states from solid to liquid to gas to plasma. The same is true of people. Keep adding hatred, and violence and terrorism and our little human molecules burst apart and lose cohesion. This story wove each of the states of matter into the story of the life of a Pakistani woman named Tara, and the effects each state had on her family and the people around her.

Then came the demon part, in fact never referred to as a demon, only the Beast, of a heat inside of Tara's veins, a family inheritance, and something that consumed her brother Sahail, creating a monster out of him. How literal we are supposed to take this demon/monster that her brother becomes I'm not sure, I suspect it is just a metaphor of the human monster he becomes, taking vengeance on those that killed the love of his life.

There were definitely parts of the story where the metaphor is clear, and parts where I was getting a bit confused (particularly when Tara cooked some berries with her blood). But it was beautifully written, a pleasure to read, and a tragic tale that is all too much a part of our real world. I do encourage you to read it.

Posted: September 2016


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