Lis Carey Review: Samantha Mills’ “Rabbit Test”

“Rabbit Test” by Samantha Mills
Uncanny Magazine, Issue #49, 2022

Review by Lis Carey: In this rather dark short story, we follow the troubles of Grace, whom we meet as an 18-year-old girl who has gotten pregnant, in a late 21st century society where technology has been weaponized to make it almost impossible for pregnancy to evade detection. She’s not paranoid and careful enough to be able to terminate it before it’s detected, and this basically eliminates most of her life choices.

In between parts of the story of Grace and her daughter, Olivia, we get bits about the history of pregnancy tests, including the iconic “rabbit test,” as well as earlier tests, dating back to ancient times, many (but not all) of which were surprisingly effective. As society changed to put women more completely in the power of men, many of them became illegal, and termination, when available, also became illegal.

Grace and Olivia aren’t the only women we get to know, at least a little bit, and none of these included stories are happy reading. It’s a powerfully told story, but also dark, and hard to take, at least for me. The nonsequential telling of it gives a good understanding of the history of pregnancy detection, abortion, and the struggle for women to control their own bodies and make their own life decisions. I’m not sorry I read it, but honestly, if it weren’t short, and weren’t a finalist for the Hugo Awards 2023 Best Short Story, I probably wouldn’t have finished it.

As in all things, make your own decision. (While it’s still legal?)

I received this story as part of the 2023 Hugo Voters Packet.

10 thoughts on “Lis Carey Review: Samantha Mills’ “Rabbit Test”

  1. I thought this was an astounding work
    I also thought the reading on the Uncanny podcast wonderful. It starts so matter of fact and build to absolute righteous fury by the end.

  2. It’s regrettable that stories like this need to be written and read, and probably will not be read by the people who need to read them most.

  3. Yes, it’s very powerful, and important

    I see I didn’t actually say in my review, that it’s a very worthy finalist. I should have, because it is.

  4. @bill–So, you thought a short story that is a finalist for the 2023 Hugo Awards Best Short Story Award was an adaptation of a 1978 comedy movie about the world’s first pregnant man.

    What a witty comment.

  5. I will admite I didn’t nominate it, but I am a man living in Germany, but I thought quite a bit about it. It is a story that I respect but not love and it was the one where I was unsure if I had made a mistake, but it was easier to nominate the other story that was nominated.
    Not a hugovoter so I don’t have to make a decision who I would vote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.