Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Water God's Dog, by R.S. Benedict

[F&SF]
★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(High Fantasy) What the water god wants, the water god gets, for the city depends on him utterly. Ur-ena hears his voice and brings him what he wants. No matter how strange. (7,956 words; Time: 26m)


"Water God's Dog," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 11-12|17, published on by .

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

Pro: Ganba clearly needs a new priest, and his choice of the boy is perfect. The boy’s father was a thief, a man who siphoned off water from others, but Ganba himself is a thief, siphoning off things from the city. The boy has little to say—just gets to the point. Ur-ena goes on and on and on. No wonder Ganba is impatient with him.

But once the boy becomes the new priest, he's all action--digging down to the buried palace to get the water to help the people. It's rather nice to see that Ganba really does care for his people.

Finally, the descriptions of Ganba’s underground realm are beautiful.

Con: It’s obvious fairly quickly that Ur-ena is all worn out, and it seems clear that the reason he hasn’t heard from Ganba in a long time is that Ganba wants a replacement. This makes the whole middle portion of the story drag. There is some tension when it looks as though the boy is to be sacrificed, but not much since everything else (e.g. Ganba's refusal to let him be harmed) argues otherwise.

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5 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. My interpretation was that the boy was rebelling.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I also interpreted that the boy was rebelling. Then it turned out that it might be true according to the writer (link below).

    However, he also says that it all wanted to be an allegory. But said allegory escaped this reader completely. Like in not getting it at all.

    https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/blog/2017/11/15/interview-r-s-benedict-on-water-gods-dog/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoa! Totally over my head. Thanks for the link.

      Delete
  3. The ending seemed straightforward enough to me: the boy and his recruits were digging down to the water god's cistern to get his water for the city.

    ReplyDelete