Saturday, January 23, 2016

Blessed are Those Who Have Seen and Do Not Believe, by D.K. Thompson

(Magical Steampunk) Elijah is dying of tuberculosis in a London where Darwin discovered spirits, not evolution. He and a vampire friend descend into the underground to look for a cure. (4,802 words)

Rating: 3, Good, ordinary, story

"," by appeared in the issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies (Issue 191).

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

Pro: Not sure if there's a better name for this sort of tale, but it has the feel of Steampunk plus magic. Elijah and Magdalena's investigation moves briskly from one thing to the next. The confrontation with Salazar is remarkable because Elijah doesn't just tell us that he resists Salazar's attempts to read his mind--he tells us how he does it.

We're happy to see Elijah confine Salazar's soul, but we're shocked to learn that he apparently slew Fossick and took his soul too. Presumably he meant to offer both souls to the angel but changed his plan once he realized it was a fallen angel.

Because he has "seen but not believed" he doesn't worship the angel but rather kills it to study as a specimen (and incidentally to cure his illness).

Con: He wins his reward, but by the time he does, we don't believe he deserves it. Yes, there's a mention that Fossick was dying, but even so, this was a man who earlier refused to kill a dying raven because it didn't look "like it wanted to die." The only real twist in the story is Fossick, and nothing is done with that.

1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. Read it twice, and I'm still not sure I completely understand what happened. I thought he killed Fossick and bottled both spirits so that he and Magdalena could take credit for the angel discovery instead of them. He resorts to shooting the angel when it refuses to willing be his trophy. In any case, a pretty unlikeable protagonist.