Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Great Leap of Shin, by Henry Lien

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January/February 2015; ~8,200 words
Rating: 3, Good, ordinary story

In this Chinese fantasy, in the style of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," the eunuch Mu Hai-Chen tries to engineer an earthquake, and the boy Ten Li tries to stop him.

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Once you get past the absurdity of people jumping triggering an earthquake (for in this style of story, people manage many absurd things), the story has an interesting plot and an interesting outcome. It is not sufficient for either adversary to win--they must win with honor. When Mu Hai-Chen reveals how he became a eunuch, that's an attack every bit as powerful as anything the boy does. The final outcome is ironic, but satisfying.

Con: Because the story is so stylized, it's impossible to have any real feelings for the characters. The story progresses linearly, and there are no real complications to the action. It's a fun story, but not a sophisticated one.

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