Friday, April 5, 2019

Gundark Island, or, Tars Tarkas Needs Your Help, by Matthew Corradi

★★★★☆ Sweet, Bittersweet, but Ultimately Touching

(SF Adventure) At age 9, the narrator and his best friend discover a dangerous alien on an island near their homes, and they spend the summer fighting it with their friends. But is it real or just their imaginations? (7,191 words; Time: 23m)

"Gundark Island, or, Tars Tarkas Needs Your Help," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 107, published on .

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

Review: 2019.198 (A Word for Authors)

“The golden age of science fiction is twelve.”
Peter Graham (Void; 1957)
This is a beautiful story about how a young boy fell in love with fantasy, how he grew up and left it behind, and then how he found it again. As in “Peter Pan” (the book, not the movie), the adventures are written as if they were real, but it's pretty clear that all the stuff in the first half of the story represents the imagined adventures of small boys, and the effect is amusing and touching.

The bittersweet account of how the narrator gradually grew out of it in college matches many people’s experience (and made me think of “Puff the Magic Dragon”), but the last bit where he introduces his own son to it is heartwarming, although learning that the alien was real helps too.

Con: One can argue that making the alien real takes all the magic out of the story.

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Matthew Corradi Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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