Friday, January 10, 2020

The Palace Of Dancing Dogs, by Allen M. Steele

★★★★★ Good Conclusion to a Fun Adventure

(Lost Colony; Sanctuary) The story concludes with the humans from Sanctuary coming to the capital of the empire, where they can present their case to the Empress herself. Assuming they can get her to listen. (22,980 words; Time: 1h:16m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘STomaino+1 (Q&A)

You must read this series from the beginning for this story to make any sense. It will help a lot if you’ve also read the original short story, Sanctuary, which describes what happened to the original starships to visit Ο„ Ceti-e .

"The Palace Of Dancing Dogs," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 01-02|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.017 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The rating is for the series as a whole, not just this episode. It’s been fun watching it unfold over the past three years.

Obviously, the great strength of it is the setting, a world where survivors from a pair of doomed colony ships have managed to retain at least some civilization and live in harmony, albeit on the sufferance of, the natives. But hundreds of years after the landings, the natives still don’t trust humans, restricting them in lots of ways.

Overall, the plot tells how private investigator Jeremy Crowe gets involved with people who want to learn the true history of their colony, recover the use of the high technology humanity once had, and gain their freedom. More personally, it also tells of Crowe’s conflict with Bart the Cetan, whose motives are understandable, making him a worthy opponent—not a cardboard villain.

The concluding episode introduces a lot of new material, not the least of which the revelation that some people from the Santos-Dumont, the other starship, actually survived and their descendants are integrated into Cetan society, albeit as second-class citizens.

Crowe’s fight with Bart at the end is remarkable in that it resolves both the larger storyline and Crowe’s personal storyline at the same time. I liked Crowe’s decision not to fight on the grounds that even if he wins he loses by proving that humans are dangerous. It spoke well of Bart that he couldn’t just kill Crowe without understanding why he quit fighting.

Con: The only real complaint I might make is that the victory they earned in the last installment came a little too easily. Given the effort it took for them to get that far, it felt a little rushed.

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