Review of "The Thunderchild Fables"

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Review of "The Thunderchild Fables"

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1auntmarge64
Editat: feb. 8, 2013, 5:32pm



The Thunderchild Fables by Roger Emile Stouff and Kenneth R Brown ***½ 2/4/13 (use this link: http://www.librarything.com/work/book/93699296)

In the near future, a small group of Americans are the first humans to make Martian landfall, albeit a crash landing which destroys the ship and wrecks long-distance communication. While waiting for rescue (Earth-to-Mars transit inexplicably takes only hours), the survivors discover a valley filled with human artifacts: a diner, a Nazi tank, toys, books, etc., although no evidence of previous human presence. They take their mind off their fear by each telling a story (the title Fables) of how the artifacts might have arrived on Mars.

There are several problems an editor should have corrected: over-reliance on a thesaurus to describe the Martian environment (crimson, bloody, geyser of blood, cardinal glow); a refusal to use the past perfect tense, leading to some confusion as to when things happened; and some very awkward phrasing (“his hair … swept back angrily over his head”, “he leaned in a gangly and sharp obtuse angle against her wagon door”). However, all but one of the fables is wonderful (the remaining story involves fantastical Earth creatures, not my cup of tea, and I only skimmed it so can’t judge). The stories are reminiscent of John Wyndham’s, with very much a mid-century style, partly because the authors use no bad language and therefore add the air of innocence found in older SF. Stock characterizations add to that impression. The main story, which connects the fables, is less successful in execution, but don’t give up – the fables are well-worth it, and the ending is perfect - and very funny.

If you love fiction set on Mars and stories in the style of John Wyndham, give this a go. It’s available in paperback and ebook format and for free loan via Amazon Prime.