Monday, December 3, 2018

The Path to War, by Louise Hughes

★★★☆☆ Average

(Colony SF) The narrator went to a country on the verge of war with its neighbor hoping he might find good stories to tell, but now that the war has started, leaving seems like the best choice. If it’s still possible. (3,371 words; Time: 11m)

"The Path to War," by (edited by Andy Cox), appeared in issue 278, published on by .

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

Review: 2018.675 (A Word for Authors)

Note: The gender of the narrator is never made clear, but I’m assuming he’s male for the sole reason that even though he’s in a war zone, he never worries about rape.

Pro: The narrator is a very complex person and exploring his character is lots of fun. He has a very high opinion of his art and sniffs at the people who fail to appreciate it. And yet he has real affection for the small team of soldiers he entertains at the pass, and he makes a strong effort to protect them when he meets an enemy soldier. Given his view of art, it’s actually more incredible that he spins a tale of 100% propaganda than it is that he murders the man when his tale fails. And it’s quite in character (if macabre) for him to conclude by wanting to learn the stories of the villagers before they die.

Funniest line (after killing the solider who said, “Some storyteller you are.”): “That brings my count to twenty: Cut-throats, highwaymen and critics.”

Con: It might be fun to read the further adventures of this character and this world, but this episode is very short and limited.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 278)
Louise Hughes Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. For me this was the standout of a somewhat lackluster issue. I'd give this one an extra star just for the hilarity of the line you quoted, which encapsulates an entire worldview in five words.