Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom, by Max Gladstone

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(Space Opera) The Scholast fell to earth in the Low Waters Kingdom and called on them to prepare to defend themselves from an invasion from another world. (6,743 words; Time: 22m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Fascinating, Complex, and Entertaining

"," by (edited by Marco Palmieri), published on by .

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

Pro: The setting is fantastic, once we understand it. These people live on the outer surface of a Dyson Sphere just outside the ergosphere of a black hole. The “deep metal” is the mysterious substance that’s strong enough to support the structure. The “gods” are ancient AIs that maintain the structure.
Jane’s mission is superficially to protect the locals against the roving White Star warriors, but in reality, she’s there to learn more for her own people and to keep the White Stars from gaining more technology.

The Princess doesn’t really understand it all, but that’s not because Jane deceives her; it’s because she truly doesn’t have the background to understand. Jane is always to the point; she tells people what they need to do and why. No deception involved.

Even the General’s position is easy to understand. He learns that she betrayed the colonel from the last world she visited, and that she has no intention of making the local army strong enough to visit other worlds.

Con: Perhaps because of her purity and lack of compromise, Jane seems cold and lifeless. It’s hard to care about her at all. The Princess has more warmth, but we don’t really learn very much about her.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I'll agree with you on this one - it joins "Vinegar and Cinnamon" on my Hugo/Nebula longlist.

  2. I really enjoyed this story, and it is a science fiction story. This is going on my Hugo list.

    The artwork was done by Micah Epstein and I love it. It goes well with the story. Micah Epstein is also going on my Hugo list in the Pro Art category.

  3. Interesting sci-fi in fantasy trappings. Felt a little bit dropped into the middle of something so I hope we see more of this setting.