Saturday, April 11, 2020

Bound by Sorrow, by Maurice Broaddus

★★★☆☆ Mixed

(SFF) A young man listens the to story of another who sought the dream city of Wagadu to fulfill an oath. (18,888 words; Time: 1h:02m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 300, published on .

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

Review: 2020.175 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: When it’s good, it’s very good. Dinga and Gerard are a great pair, and the banter between the two of them is fun to read.

The wild mix of cultures and epochs bothered me at first until I decided this was either virtual reality or a video game. The mix of Yoruba and Ghanaian gods is a clue, and the occasional Xhosha and even Swahili terms the characters casually drop all point to something much more modern than the ~200 BC date that the presence of Gerard suggests. For that matter, Gerard isn’t a Greek name at all.

But I think it’s the bar scene that made it really clear to me that this was a simulation because the bar was too much like a modern bar. Of course the description of the floating city owes far more to technology than it does to magic.

Con: When it’s bad, it’s awfully dull. The way the main story keeps diverting to side stories gets tedious, particularly when the main story finally shows signs of forward movement.

The conclusion is a disappointment, amounting to nothing more than an older person lecturing a young one.

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