Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Fall and Rise of the House of the Wizard Malkuril, by Scott Lynch

★★★★☆ A great tale of hubris and redemption

(SF Fantasy) When the wizard has a fatal accident, his house AI tries to run things in his absence. (12,659 words; Time: 42m)

"The Fall and Rise of the House of the Wizard Malkuril," by (edited by Gardner Dozois), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

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

Review: 2018.652 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: : I particularly loved the way the meaning of the title changes once you’ve finished the story. Not just the fact that the Wizard himself dies in the first few pages, but the way the AI itself changes nature.

It’s sad the way the poor Kobolds suffer so much from the house’s increasing megalomania, but after the failure of the rocket and the literal “fall” of the house, it’s nice to see that they’re the ones who inherit the planet.

Ironically, the real “fall” of the house is not the physical one; it’s the transformation of it from a servant to a monster. That launch represents its lowest point. The rise isn’t on top of a rocket but rather from a destructive force to a helpful one.

It lives long enough to see the Kobolds on the right track. Perhaps that’s not enough to make up for all the other things it did, but it's enough to make the ending very moving.

Con: Although the story is very moving, it really only has one character in it.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. This was definitely one of my favorites. It's great to see how a story that goes for humor and absurdity can still be so potent and affecting -- or maybe it's the humor and absurdity that *make* it more potent and affecting :)

    1. Hey, it's an emotional-AI story that even I liked! :-)