Sunday, January 11, 2009

Seafarer's Blood

Saturdays I reserve for reading and reviewing something from F&SF. Tonight I reviewed Seafarer's Blood by Albert E. Cowdrey. It's probably more fantasy than science fiction but Cowdrey has written science fiction stories too for the magazine.

When I first started subscribing to the magazine I didn't especially like Cowdrey's writing style but I'm warming to him. It's nice to get the chance to revisit authors to see how they tackle different subjects.

On to the review:

Albert E. Cowdrey and Robert Reed seem to be in a race to see who can contribute the most stories to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Cowdrey's current story is a departure from his usual New Orleans based ones. The seafarer in the title is a Viking.

The protagonist in Seafarer's Blood is a man named Eric. He's not a Viking but he sees them when he sleeps and sometimes when he's awake. He's convinced that he's a shaman and it's the only positive thing in his messed up life. He's going through a messy divorce and most of his life is spent on his old futon vision questing and reminiscing about the better times in his life.

Then something happens. Something always happens. If it didn't, it would just be a short mood piece. As far as I can tell, Cowdrey doesn't go for mood pieces. Anyway, Eric and his wife manage to patch things up and in the process Eric learns the true identity of his father.

Unfortunately there's a downside to all this bliss, a sinister, otherworldly one. The ending is vague and rather like a good Twilight Zone. I read it through a couple of times and it could go either way depending on what mood you're in.



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