“The Growling”, by Jody Lynn Nye

“The Growling”, by Jody Lynn Nye (originally published in _Chicks in
Chainmail_, 1994)

Imagine this: a village of female Amazon barbarian savage-type
warriors, okay? And they’re all living together. And you know what
happens when you got a bunch of chicks all living together, right?
Their cycles synch up! So all the Amazonian Warrior Babes, they all get  their period at the same time! Cramps and all! HILARIOUS, right?

…You’re not laughing. Okay, what if, what if… all of their names
are PUNS? We’ll just use Fonetik Spehling, so there’s an Amazon
Warrior called “Honi”, and one called “Shooga”, and they live in a
village called “Equal”, and their men have all gone to the capital
city of “Sensitive”, and then the village is attacked by warriors from
the tribe of “Macho”, who have names like “Abs” and “Glutes”! The Macho want to force the women to participate in the fertility rite of
“Party”, but the women fight them off with the ancient martial art of
“Aerobics”, And then they all resume making primitive tampons out of moss.

This story felt like it was written by someone who had once read about  humour in an old, poorly-translated textbook, and who was not totally clear on how the concept is supposed to work. I’ve never been a huge fan of Nye, but she’s capable of *much* better than this. The heavy-handedness of the puns overwhelms the simplistic and predictable narrative, making the story a chore to read.
I understand the appeal of running gags and callbacks: “telling the
same joke over and over”, as it’s been described. But not like this.

Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association