Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Journeyman: In the Stone House, by Michael F. Flynn

http://www.analogsf.com/pdfs/Stories/Journeyman_Stone_House_%20MichaelFlynn-HUGO.pdf

In a story that seems to be set after a collapse of civilization, plainsman Teodorq and his friend Sammi o' the Eagles (whom he apparently met in an earlier story) come upon a large stone structure, unlike anything they've seen before. It's peopled, and defended, by soldiers in metal armor. Teodorq and Sammi have their own goals they're after, and Teodorq is being pursued by the brother of a young man he killed, but the head of this little armed settlement isn't interested in having them continue on their way without answering some questions, And, well, Teodorq would like a chance to steal a sword.

Structurally, this isn't a bad story. The plot is a little thin, with much of the little that happens relying on events in the prior story. The conflict between Teodorq and his tribal rival, as well as the fact that Teodorq and Sammi's interests, while closely aligned, aren't the same, does provide some story-telling meat.

Unfortunately, Teodorq, and sometimes Sammi, use casual, current-day slang and express attitudes that would be familiar coming from guys in their lat teens and twenties hanging out on a street corner. Teodorq cheerfully addresses the chief's daughter as "Babe," and I'm surprised he doesn't engage in any catcalls. That, along with similar unlikely language and mannerisms, kicked me right out of the story every time.

I'm really disappointed. I expected much better from Michael Flynn.

Not recommended.