Black Gate Online, January 6, 2013

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Black Gate Online, January 6, 2013

“When the Glimmer Faire Came to the City of the Lonely Eye” by John R. Fultz

Reviewed by Cyd Athens

This was my first encounter with John R. Fultz‘s world. That in no way detracted from my appreciation for “When the Glimmer Faire Came to the City of the Lonely Eye.” The hero, Artifice, is in the midst of a career change. He used to be “the most famous Quill in the world’s greatest city, whose books were sought after across the length and breadth of the Continent.” As the story begins, he is a penniless apprentice Playwright, travelling with a company of actors and fae musicians while working on his first play.

His drama treats an ancient myth about twin cities across the mountains from each other. Long ago, the Earth God left his eyes with Mornitetra to the east, and Ultimetra to the west. After Ultimetra’s king, Ytreus, angered the Earth God by selling the western eye to foreign sorcerers, that city fell. In Artifice’s version, the story is a tragedy. The company’s debut performance is in the surviving city, Mornitetra, where the residents tolerate the ghosts of Ultimetra.

This is a prosaic piece, filled with vivid descriptions that make it easy to imagine the characters, their surroundings, and the play itself. The story’s pace suits a tale set in a time when it took months to cross a mountain pass in horse-drawn wagons rather than hours to cross it in horsepower-driven automobiles. Artifice and his companions are a pleasant fit and work well together. The words here are carefully chosen so as to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing the attention they draw to themselves. At its simplest, this is an enjoyable adventure that reveals the power of art and artists.

Cyd Athens indulges a speculative fiction addiction from 45ø 29 30.65 N, 122ø 35 30.91 W.