Wednesday, October 14, 2009
“Noble Deceit” by Juliet E. McKenna, Pages 16: This short story is fantasy and portrays the theme of subterfuge through intricate court intrigues and world building, which is enchanting and frightening. Thian Hindrie has been born with an unusual talent, which due to high value and rarity for the monarchy is kept secret, until the king would need it. When the call comes forth, Thian is swallowed by court plans and as he accomplishes his greatest feat with his talent the world around him reveals a different face. It’s typical court intrigue, where everybody has spoken half truths or lies, but this time in noble context, proving that some things are best left unsaid. “Tales from the Big Dark: Lie of the Land” by Pat Cadigan, Pages 10: Science Fiction has always been fond of abductions and Cadigan decides to portray what happen beyond being abducted. In this case it means becoming a specimen in a galactic zoo. The protagonist is a human doctor, who after overcoming the shock of being abducted acts as a councilor to new abductees in order to adapt to the new environment. However everyone is prone to crash mentally and in an environment, where nothing ever happens without a purpose it’s impossible to determine what is true and what is not. I liked the mind games involved here, leaving the reader to guess whether everything indeed is meticulously engineered and deceit follows through or perhaps there is a glimmer of hope in a situation, where no immediate exit is conceivable. “The Moth” by Neil Williamson, Pages 14: Fantasy as a genre is always filled with intrigue and verbal chess games, which is part of the spirit of high fantasy or political fantasy. This is such a story, which I have to admit has been skillfully crafted in its games of subtleties and details in techniques. However I didn’t feel much of a connection for the Markady, the spy and protagonist, who is sadly from the worst kind of spies, the spineless ones. The reason he excels in what he does is because he receives compliments on his work and no matter how scared, insecure or nervous he is, he keeps pushing forward. Nevertheless he was portrayed with the three dimensional believability one would expect and that contributed to a more enjoyable experience.