Sunday, October 18, 2009
People, we have reached the final post as far as this anthology is concerned and I am presenting you with the last of the "Subterfuge" stories. Keep your eyes out on the final summary of this anthology with general opinions and analysis. “Multitude” by Dave Hutchison, Pages 38: Officially the longest short story in this anthology “Multitude” dabbles with my favorite mélange of genres: post-apocalyptic and urban fantasy. In this rendition of Earth the reader is introduced to a planet, torn after long wars and then at its weakest conquered by the elves, which appear to be the original race on Earth to begin with. The elves however are bit on the animalistic, homicidal side and humans play the role of small game for the slaughter. Bar owner of the Duke of York in Norfolk Kaz Mackoviak has the misfortune to be visited by elves and from then on life goes downhill for him. As the story progresses more secrets float to the surface from the murky depths of the past and revelations deliver one shock after another. Hutchison has painted a very grim and believable world, which I enjoyed immensely. “The Rhine’s World Incident” by Neal Asher, Pages 14: I didn’t find anything profound or a certain twist that would make this review long, but I don’t think that Asher has intended this short story to be anything more than fun and action packed military sci-fi, depicting the war between two fractions: human partisans and A.I. Subterfuge here is present in the ingenuity both sides apply to the battlefield and I was generally in for a pleasant surprise at seeing how the A.I machines fight back and manage to overcome the human partisans. An adrenaline delight to be sure. “Thirstlands” by Nick Wood, Pages 12: I spent a long time trying to decide on whether I liked this story and why did it have to close this particular anthology. In the end I decided that I did not like this one at all, because first I couldn’t click with the main character or understand his world and his relationship with his wife. Although the short story has science fiction elements as the plot revolves around a near future Africa, where the droughts have reached a new level of danger for the people on this continent, it reads more or less like a mainstream slash slightly philosophical read, digging around human principles and moral. However the delivery didn’t work for me. However I did understand why it was positioned as last. Whereas “Darker Than Void” started the anthology with the negative aspect of what subterfuge is aka keeping a secret or applying lie to achieve a certain goal, “Thirstlands” takes subterfuge, in this case the protagonist’s hidden water well, and disperses the secret in order for it to be used for good.