The collective force of Judy McCrosky’s Lifting Weights is a raw adventure into the unknown. In “Death TV”, we meet a butterfly collector whose explorations into the violent mayhem of television programming draw out society’s preoccupation with watching people die as a source of entertainment. A journalist with a nose for a good story takes us inside the world of “thinking machines” as she tries to discern whether cybernetic horses conform to her dictum that living means being true to your identity. In the surreal tale “Sand Dove”, an unhappy woman leaves her husband and makes her way to a small beach community where she finds an injured bird that conjures for her a sort of baby to compensate for all the miscarriages she has had. In the title story, “Lifting Weights”, Jane and Sandra, future archeologists on an alien planet, have their lives tested in climbing to the surface of a dark underground cavern into which they have fallen. In their quest to survive one of them discovers a new inner strength that had always eluded her, while she solves an ancient mystery as to why the civilization on the planet became extinct.
McCrosky’s imagination knows few limits, though in her quest to entertain in these twelve stories she remains true to her themes of optimism and exploration, while maintaining her central vision that our greatest fears and threats are conquerable.