Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Moneylender's Angel, by Robert Minto

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Fantasy Adventure) The narrator and his lover barely scrape by, but then a valuable artifact falls into their hands, and they have to decide whether to return it to the owner, sell it, or try to use it. (4,425 words; Time: 14m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 296, published on .

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

Review: 2020.075 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The core of the story is Gareth’s moral dilemma: he believes he needs to atone for his actions as torturer for the moneylender, so how can he impose harm on the owner of the chain? Particularly when someone gave his/her life to create the chain?

The narrator sees that making Gareth a healer would be a great good, helping many lives, not just a single one. But he loves Gareth very much, and can’t act in a way that would hurt him.

The story does a decent job of showing the relationship between the two men. We know the narrator loves Gareth, even though the word “love” never appears in the story.

Con: The narrator is “ungrounded,” meaning that we get little or no description of him. He doesn’t even have a name. Gareth is also ungrounded; other than knowing he’s “beautiful,” we haven’t got a clue what he looks like.

The stakes in the story are very low, and except for the magical multiplication of money in the conclusion, the story could easily be rewritten with no speculative element.

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. The ending felt was a little unsatisfying. It's sad that Gareth doesn't feel worthy when he's obviously turned his life around already. And that the narrator is going to lie about how he got the money. I was also skeptical about the narrator hiding this stash in their one room above a bar long enough to make it believable that he saved it.