Hugo Reading: The Journeyman: In the Stone House

Now, this is the way to do a post-Apocalyptic sci-fi tale wherein the main characters are at a tech level more suited to a fantasy story. I noticed that there was at least one other “Journeyman” story in one of the other Analog magazines, and I think I’ll read that one before I go to the library tomorrow to pick up my last novel hold. The other story – “Against the Green” – is apparently a novella, which, if I like it, means I’ll have an easy replacement nomination for “Flow.”

What makes this novelette better, even though the sci-fi elements are, as in “Flow,” part of the mythical distant past and woven into the religions of the primitive peoples remaining? Motivation. The travelers have been tasked by the AI of a downed shuttle, trapped beneath the earth, to bring news of her plight to the cities of the “starmen.” The sci-fi elements aren’t just window dressing – they’re on a quest given by an actual technologically advanced character! They don’t really believe they’ll find anything, but unlike the Country Bumpkin in “Flow,” the main characters here have actual personalities, which makes them far more interesting to read. The backstory about the quest was woven in very well, too – the main plot of “The Stone House” revolves around Teodorq and Sammi getting captured by the knights (who live in a BIG stone house, according to the plainsman and the hillman) and being pressed into their Foreign Legion. Since the brave heroes of impeccable fighting skill, high intelligence, and gifted lingual skills don’t know what lies beyond the knights’ territory, they graciously decide to stick around instead of using their l33t ninja skilz to escape. (No really, literally, Sammi camouflages himself with grass at one point!)

Yeah, there’s just a bit of Marty-Stu in the main characters. But that’s perfectly okay in this genre – John Carter of Mars, anyone? Solid traditional Men of War characterization, here. If the “green” against which the Stone House knights are fighting turn out to be green aliens a la Martians, I’m gonna laugh. 😀


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One Response to Hugo Reading: The Journeyman: In the Stone House

  1. Pingback: Hugo Reading: “Flow” | Something Fishy

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