My first quick short story review got mentioned in File 770 (yeee!) and Vox Popoli (hurrrrm), and there was quite a bit of traffic coming this way, which is nice.
Some guy opined on Twitter that the Rzasa review was the final proof of the fact that there’s no Puppy/Anti-Puppy peace to be had. Ever. It does sound like a bit far-fetched conclusion after I’ve read one single short story and disliked it, but who am I to argue. No peace, then.
The next short story down the line is Lou Antonelli’s “On A Spiritual Plane”.
Category: Short story
Published in: Sci Phi Journal: A Journal about Science Fiction & Philosophy
Slates: Rabid Puppies & Sad Puppies
I have to admit that I was surprised to find this kind story on both of the Puppy slates. Their mission statement was to bring manly fun and rousing adventure back to SFF, but instead they offer here a calm and quiet story with no action, no conflict and no surprises. That’s baffling, but I guess I should blame Torgersen and his friend’s flaky understanding of what they think they like rather than this particular story.
“On A Spiritual Plain” takes place on a planet where the strong magnetic field prevents dead people’s ghosts from dissipating. The protagonist is a chaplain of the small base that humans have established on the planet. When one of the humans dies, the chaplain has to take care of the ghost. Luckily, the aliens are happy to help him and he gets the ghost to dissipate by travelling to the north polar plain with it.
There’s an actual story here, but it’s not very well executed. In the beginning, the reader is drowned with long-winded backstory, and it doesn’t get more interesting at any point. An actual conflict, some drama, an engaging character and/or more fleshed-out alien civilization could have made this a good story, but as is, it was quite tedious reading.
The philosophical aspect was probably supposed to be the mysterious Stonehenge-esque construct that has the dimensions of the Golden Mean (even though it seems it actually wasn’t), but whatever serious philosophical idea there was I’m afraid I was not able to grasp it. The very last scene also left me wondering what exactly was Antonelli’s purpose there (maybe show that now the chaplain knows what he is doing?). The chaplain being rude to aliens after the second human dies and becomes a ghost is just a weird way to end this story.
Score: 2.5/10. (I was going to only give out whole numbers, but I run into trouble right away. This is better than Rzasa’s “Turncoat” — so it has to get more than 2 — but not good enough to get a full 3.)