Monday, March 16, 2020

Hacksilver, by Elizabeth Bear

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Historical Fantasy) Auga “Hacksilver” Augusson returns home after eight years as a Viking, so he polishes up his luck before he gets there. He’s going to need it. (9,102 words; Time: 30m)

Recommended By: 👍RHorton.r+1 (Q&A)

"Hacksilver," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 03-04|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.144 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Auga isn’t expecting much, but he hardly expects his former neighbors to strip him of all his goods to settle an account supposedly owed by his brother. His arrangement with the giant is a desperate one, but he clearly aims to win through cleverness, not force. The only question is how.

That puts all sorts of tension and excitement into the fight, but the basic honorableness of the giant helps make the whole thing seem feasible. That is, once he meets the giant, Auga’s situation is desperate, but not hopeless.

Con: The extent of the injustice is so extreme that it breaks suspension of disbelief. Not only were his former acquaintances willing to essentially steal all his property, they were willing to send him to his death, and not one soul either spoke up nor offered any help after the fact. And yet the ending is too easy. Just a day later, on the strength of the word of a giant and a parchment map, they suddenly agree with him and all is made right.

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