The ED SF Project

The Ellen Datlow/SCI FICTION Project, that is. We're showing the love for five and a half years of great short fiction, and we need your help! We've got over 300 stories to cover, so if you're a person who loves short speculative fiction, we want you. Go here to read the list and add your voice.

Monday, November 21, 2005

"The Spear Carrier" by A.M. Dellamonica: An Appreciation by Paul Abbamondi

This otherworldly tale of duels and formal traditions by A.M. Dellamonica is full of excitement, action, detail, and wit. It pulls the reader in from the very first sentence and keeps their eyes-—and other senses-—at full alert until the culminating words at the end. I found myself thinking about the characters even when it was over. That's always a plus for a short story's effect.

"The Spear Carrier" is told through the eyes of a woman named Opal who is trying hard to get everything ready for Masao's ceremony procession. Masao is being initiated into the society that exists on Arune as an ambassador after saving the inhabitants kids during an accident inside a passenger compartment. It is Opal's job to make sure everything runs smoothly, and since they are some of the only people of Earth left, it is basically vital that nothing goes wrong.

The voices of Opal and Masao balance each other in that during one moment one is serious while the other quirky, and at the next, witty and somber. Dellamonica is able to create an air of tension throughout the story, making the reader feel just as worried as Opal that Masao is going to mess up during the procession.

I found this tale to be a fun read that takes place in a fully developed world; the characters are real, the conflict dangerous, and the closing just enough to please the mind. Thank you, Ellen, for finding this gem and making it shine.

Link to story.


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