Monday, October 12, 2015

The Mantis Tattoo, by Paul M. Berger

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2015; 8,426 words
Rating: 4, Recommended  Recommended By:  Locus SFRevu:4

In this clever historical fantasy, set in the Pleistocene, young Nudur gets called to serve Mantis, and Mantis sets him a difficult task to prove himself.

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

Pro: The pieces fit together very nicely. From the beginning, we learn that Nudur is a trickster--just like Mantis. He really is a good choice The "Fathers" (Neanderthals?) started off believing that the tribes people drank a potion to make themselves strong--they never imagined it was a poison.

Con: The torture and mutilation of gentle, honest, Bilao is a little hard to take. It seems wrong that Nudur pays no price. The final conversation with Mantis diminishes the story because Mantis is too clear and too direct with Nudur.

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