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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #229, July 6, 2017

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Beneath Ceaseless Skies #229, July 6, 2017

Ora et Labora" by Theodore McCombs

Reviewed by Chuck Rothman

Beneath Ceaseless Skies has a single complete story in its July 6th issue (the other is the first half of serialized story and will be reviewed when it's complete).

"Ora et Labora" by Theodore McCombs follows Obb, a 14-year-old who has newly joined a religious order that bears some resemblance to a monastery. But it quickly becomes apparent that this isn't what we normally consider one; the grunt work that Obb is forced to do is more about mathematics than any religious faith. Obb is called Disordered and was sent to the order by his family, who no longer acknowledge him, and where his previous identity is never mentioned again. He hates his new life and thinks that it was a terrible mistake to send him there, where he has to endure cruelty and punishment. But things are not what he thinks. I loved the way the story slowly moved away from any expected path and into areas I hadn't expected, leading to a powerful ending.


Chuck Rothman's novels Staroamer's Fate and Syron's Fate are available from Fantastic Books.