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

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #223, April 13, 2017

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Beneath Ceaseless Skies #223, April 13, 2017

I Have Been Drowned in Rain” by Carrie Vaughn

When We Go” by Evan Dicken

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

The latest issue of the online magazine of literary adventure fantasy offers two stories whose most dramatic events occur offstage, before their narratives begin. Instead, each author considers the consequences of the action on the protagonist, and offers hints of what is yet to come.

Carrie Vaughn, recently nominated for the Hugo Award for her science fiction story “That Game We Played During the War,” turns to traditional fantasy themes in “I Have Been Drowned in Rain.” A party of adventurers accompanying a princess in disguise, out to reclaim her throne from a usurping tyrant, have nearly reached their goal. Among their number are a magician, a knight, and a thief. At this point the reader cannot help but think of a typical scenario from a roleplaying game. Before the story begins, as they fought to survive the attacks of their enemies, they rescued a seemingly insane woman from being assaulted and took her along. Soon the woman’s true nature is revealed, and the heroes must face a final threat from an unsuspected source. Although the author writes with grace and clarity, and has a gift for characterization, the background and plot may be too familiar for many readers.

When We Go” by Evan Dicken makes use of concepts from Native American mythology. The narrator, who does not remember who she is, has confronted many gods and slain them before the story begins. She has done this in an attempt to save her people from murderous invaders. When she returns, to find the survivors close to extermination, she must defend her killing of the gods and learn her true identity. The narrator’s many adventures, in her own world and in the underworld of the dead, are sometimes confusing, although they are vivid and imaginative.

Victoria Silverwolf lives on a wooded hilltop in the southeastern corner of Tennessee with one human and sixteen cats.