Monday, May 27, 2019

The Two-Bullet War, by Karen Osborne

★★★☆☆ Average

(High Fantasy) The Queen lies dying, and her twin sons will fight over which will be king. Not a civil war, but a fight in an arena with special guns and special bullets. (5,168 words; Time: 17m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 278, published on .

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

Review: 2019.323 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The conflict here is that Mila and her husband are the two who end up squaring off to decide the issue. Mila is forced to defend a man she knows must never be king, but does she believe that enough to die for it herself?

Unusually, this is a high fantasy with twentieth-century technology rather than the usual medieval tech.

Con: I never felt I understood the rules of this arena. If Eselin killed Mila, Karstan would just quietly give up his claim to the throne? Or was there a magic link between the guns and the torcs the brothers wore? And what was the deal with the diamond bullet that didn’t fire properly?

Another thing that bothered me greatly was that Karstan would be a real fool to choose anyone he didn’t trust absolutely, and he should have known that Maia didn’t approve of him.

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