‘Making it Happen’ by Ailsa Cox

What I love about this story, by the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction (at Edge Hill University), is its construction. Actually I love the characterisation as well, which is achieved through a skilful combination of description and dialogue, but the construction is what made me go ‘Aha!’ The thing is, if I tell you what it is about the construction that I like so much, it would spoil the story, or that element of the story, so I’ll just say that Cox’s narrative approach in this story is elliptical and fragmented and there are considerable rewards for the reader as things start to come together. I also really like the vicarious sense of being inside a Reliant Scimitar, a car I have always confused with the Jensen Interceptor. Come on, they’re virtually identical. The issue of the magazine in which the story appeared was the first following the death of Alan Ross. An editorial note announced, forlornly, ‘This issue of the magazine may be its last.’ Thankfully it wasn’t. If you want to read one of Cox’s stories online, there’s one here http://www.paraxis.org/pages/p03/renaissanceman.html with, weirdly, artwork by me. And if you want to read ‘Making it Happen’ it’s in Cox’s collection, The Real Louise and Other Stories (Headland Publications).

(London Magazine, April/May 2001)