Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello, by David Gerrold

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(Planetary SF) Mr. Costello's crackpot moneymaking scheme promises entertainment to the rural community he sets down in, but the narrator senses a threat. (19,740 words; Time: 1h:05m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average
Recommended By: GDozois:5 RHorton:4

Although this story is inspired by Theodore Sturgeon's 1953 novelette, "Mr. Costello, Hero," there's no need to read that story first. This story stands completely on its own.

"The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 09-10|16, published on by .

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

Pro: The descriptions of the landscape, wildlife, and social arrangements on Haven are perfect. The dialogue is excellent, and the different principle characters are well-drawn and entertaining. Between the occasionally puzzling behavior of the horgs and of Mr. Costello himself, the tension in the story rises steadily right up to the conclusion.

Con: But we're left asking ourselves, "that's it?" There was all this foreshadowing about the secret com links and the private bank account, and the threats from the Herkle twins, and making Mr. Costello judge and mayor both, but nothing comes of it all. The only "threat" is that Mr. Costello is going to bring progress to Haven, which will turn it into something the narrator and his family didn't want. So the narrator kills him, even though now that the secret of harvesting horgs is out, it seems unlikely that that will change anything.

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. Yes, the ending is abrupt. And it seems too little, too late to stop the wheels of progress. But it was still pretty funny. I also loved that Finn came to stop him from running away ...wearing the blue dress!