Monday, May 7, 2018

Godmeat, by Martin Cahill

★★★★☆ Unsettling Tale with an Inevitable Logic

(Fantasy Apocalypse) To return to power, the godlike Hollow Ones recruit Spear to kill the Great Beasts that hold the laws of reality in place, and Hark to cook them so they can absorb their power. Only one remains before the end of the world as they know it. (7,012 words; Time: 23m)

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 96, published on .

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

Pro: The strongest part of the story is the rising horror we feel at the god beasts being slaughtered and fed to the monstrous Hollow Ones. And the dread we feel at these psychopaths becoming the new gods of this world.

It's easy to read this as a metaphor for humanity gaining control over the world. The old gods were all nature gods, and they all seem to have been unthinking beasts. The new gods are all in the form of humans. The "Wild World" is about to be replaced with "The Tame World," if not "The Ruined World."

With each new meal of godmeat, the Hollow Ones grow more substantial and more powerful, but up until Hark's sacrifice, they never grow eyes. Symbolically, that could represent humanity's blindness to the damage we did to our environment for so many years.

These new gods must come; Hark knows he can't stop them. But by giving them eyes so they can behold the effects of their actions, he at least creates a chance that they'll make a world fit to live in. The fact that they spare Hark suggests that there is some hope after all.

Hark knows he's failed at life, and he’s ready to help bring the world to an end. With this sacrifice, he makes up for it.

Con: How did he get away with it? With the Hollow Ones so empowered by consuming all the dead gods, it’s hard to believe that the sacrifice of a mere mortal could have that much effect—or that they weren’t suspicious of this last-minute offer of his.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 96)
Martin Cahill Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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