Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Evolutionary Myth, by BO-Young Kim (author), Gord Sellar (translator), Jihyun Park (translator)

Clarkesworld Magazine, May 2015

A prince whose uncle has usurped the throne is trying to keep his head down and not be a threat. It doesn't help much; eventually his uncle sends assassins after him, and he escapes only because his eunuch takes his clothes and dies in his place. He flees into the wilderness.

The fantasy element here is that people, animals, probably even plants change form. Not wholly voluntarily, but in response to stresses, strains, needs, wants, desires. Our prince has had cat's eyes since adolescence. He might or might not be on four feet when he flees the palace. In the woods, he chats with an ex-human tiger, and becomes, in time, a lizard-like creature.

And the king keeps hunting him, by chance during a deer hunt, and intentionally when he's taken up residence in a river.

There's an overall darkness of tone, and a great sense of pointlessness. The magic seems arbitrary. Overall, this just did not work for me.

Not recommended.

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