Monday, September 9, 2019

A Song for the Leadwood Tree, by Aimee Ogden


(High Fantasy) On her last day as Queen, Nehan leads her troops into battle, pitting spears, swords, and shields against guns. (4,775 words; Time: 15m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 285, published on .

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

Review: 2019.499 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Dialogue and narration are both good. The backstory gets filled in in a natural way.

The key thing is to realize that they alternate rulers for peacetime and rulers for warfare. Winning the battle and restoring peace means stepping down as queen.

Con: It’s hard to believe her people would accept as king a shepherd boy the queen adopted on a whim.

Are we supposed to believe that she won the big battle just by singing a scary song that made the enemy run away?

It makes no sense that the Buskruten cut out her tongue. Killing her or capturing her would have done far more damage to her side.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Is it high fantasy? There's neither magic nor fantastic creatures, just the people of a mountain kingdom battling invaders from the who have more advanced technology (firearms) and brought with them a plague which decimated the locals. You could very well be reading about the Incas battling the Spanish. One could even imagine this happening many years after some sort of apocalyptic collapse of civilization so you don't need to consider it happening in a secondary world.

    1. For us, High Fantasy just means secondary world; there's no magic required. When there's doubt, I tend to use Occam's Razor. Sure, you could imagine this is a lost-colony story and these folks are descendents of a colony ship that landed here ten thousand years ago. But it's a lot simpler to just say it's a secondary world, since nothing hints at any connection with our world.

      I see what you mean about it being a no-magic world, though. Secondary-world stories with no magic often get called "Mannerpunk," but it feels weird to call this "Military Mannerpunk" for some reason.