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If SKIMMA, a child's stuffed animal, could talk, it would tell the stories of pain and poverty, joy and triumph of its many owners.

Imagine that Winnie the Pooh’s mutant sibling joined the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and embarked upon a journey through a dystopian Orwellian world. That’s not far from the premise of 100Lick’s story collection, “Tedeskimma.” The doughty protagonist is a stuffed Tedeskimma — SKIMMA, for short— a beast which inhabits remote corners of the planet UWA and looks like a cross between an albino squirrel and a bighorn sheep: 

“It was an animal of some kind. Bright white all over, just like her hair, with blue eyes that were lighter than hers. Its head had huge, ever expanding horns, and a long bushy tail was attached to its behind. The creature’s hands were similar to hers, but its legs were exactly like its hands…”

SKIMMA is given to a girl named UMA on her birthday, although it changes hands eleven times in the course of this book. Each of the creature’s new owners’ stories are told in separate chapters. Among them are OMLI, a boy who lives in a slum and works in the mines; BUNS a bitter lesbian mercenary who considers SKIMMA a lucky charm; DIIN, a girl whose impoverished family undertakes the perilous journey to a new country; VONDUR, a fulminating bigot who works at an immigrant detention facility; and CHOTY, a precocious lad growing up amid gang violence and drug dealing.

Because SKIMMA is a silent, non-judgmental listener, people feel compelled to tell it their innermost thoughts and feelings. It also bears witness to their plights, suffering, and occasional triumphs. 

These variously troubled folk dwell on UWA, which apart from having three suns and three moons, is much like Earth. Indeed, its citizens suffer from the same social and environmental malaises that afflict our own blue planet. Each chapter illustrates some form of bias or injustice. The characters are icons representing different populations affected by these conditions—refugees, sexual minorities, victims of abuse, etc. As such, they evoke principles over personalities; some of them are little more than caricatures of a belief system or social group.

“Tedeskimma” is an audacious undertaking with bold scope and an urgent morality. Still, the stories feel more expository than narrative. The dialog often lapses into lecture mode. While individually engaging, the chapters are unconnected, apart from the transfer of SKIMMA from one to the next, and a contrived ending.  Overall, the story cycle is compelling, but its lessons are somewhat belabored. 

Reviewed by

Gregg Sapp is author of the “Holidazed” satires. To date, six titles have been released: “Halloween from the Other Side,” “The Christmas Donut Revolution,” “Upside Down Independence Day,” “Murder by Valentine Candy," "Thanksgiving Thanksgotten Thanksgone," and the latest, "New Year's Eve, 1999."

The Birthday

About the author

100LICK is a unique brand, unlike any other. It is also the pseudonym I write under. 100LICK is also a puzzle, one that you must solve. Within its logo lie the clues that will lead you to the answer. As for who I am... Well, that shall remain a mystery for now. Why? You ask. Why not? I answer. view profile

Published on October 28, 2019

Published by

140000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Literary Fiction

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