Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Journeyman: Through Madness Gap, by Michael F. Flynn

Find this issue
(SF Adventure; The Journeyman) Teo has command of some forces for the invasion of Yavalprawns, but they’re only half-trained, so he and Sammi look for a way to sneak through a forgotten pass and take the enemy by surprise. (14,764 words; Time: 49m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

This is part of a long series that started with “On the Short Grass Prairie” and is set in the larger universe of “The January Dancer.” It doesn’t stand alone in any sense

"The Journeyman: Through Madness Gap," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 01-02|18, published on by .

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

Background: Teo appears in “Up Jim River,” and this series tells his backstory. The Commonwealth of Suns fell over 10,000 years ago in a huge interstellar war with "the People of Sand and Iron." The “World” of the story isn’t even in the same spiral arm of the Milky way that Earth is in.

Earlier in the “Journeyman” series, Teo was exiled and met Sammi. Together they found the crashed Commonwealth shuttle with a working AI, which gave them their quest: to find help in the cities of Iabran and Varucciyamen. To do that, they’ve crossed their own continent, crossed an ocean, and ended up serving the “Greenies” after first fighting against them. All along the way, they've found traces of old technology, some of it still working.

Pro: This is the first time in Teo's journey that he's encountered anything left behind by the People of Sand and Iron.

Teo and Sammi are fun characters, and it’s fun watching them interact. My favorite was the point where Teo shows how to shoot at a target from a galloping horse, and after he succeeds, we see Sammi collecting a bet from a local who obviously hadn’t believed Teo could do it.

There are a lot of cute language jokes, including Sammi’s anachronisms. For example, when the engineering sergeant nervously asks if his group needs to risk going up to the pass, Jerry says they won’t be taking any “oynocks” (eunuchs) but the man doesn’t understand him because in his own language the word is “gazdradi” (castrati).

Con: The story ends right when it’s starting to get interesting. And the rescue at the end (presumably from still-surviving Commonwealth technology in Varucciyamen) is very much a deus ex machina.

If you didn’t read the earlier installments, this story would be heavy going indeed, and even if you did, there’s an awful lot you needed to remember.

Sammi’s grade-school taunts get tiresome. E.g. “Sammi mistaken only once. He thought he made error, but was wrong.”

There's a sloppy feel to the text. For example, Teo is "Teddy" for a bit in the middle of the story. Also, the different dialects aren't consistent.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 01-02|18)
Michael F. Flynn Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

Follow RSR on Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or E-mail.

No comments (may contain spoilers):

Post a Comment (comment policy)