“Bent the Wing, Dark the Cloud” by Fran Wilde
Reviewed by Chuck Rothman
Fran Wilde starts out September’s first offerings from Beneath Ceaseless Skies with “Bent the Wing, Dark the Cloud,” a story about Calli Viit, who works in her father’s shop. In her society, people travel by flying, using sail-like wings. Calli, however, has not been able to learn, going into panic whenever she tries. This is a major failing in her world, and it reflects badly on her father Liras, who has become a compulsive gambler, further ruining his reputation in an occupation where reputation is essential. Calli and her father are nicely drawn, but I’m afraid the actual plot is pretty predictable and could have used a bit more of a surprise.
“Moogh and the Great Trench Kraken” by Suzanne Palmer is the story of a barbarian who is way out of his element—literally. Moogh is mystified by the impossibly wide and salty river that is blocking his path. Following its path, he meets Seesa, sort of a mermaid without the fish parts. She takes him under the sea—which Moogh never quite understands—to be a sacrifice to the Great Trench Kraken in the title. I thought the character of Moogh was wonderful—not that bright, but not really stupid either, and the humor he adds makes the story work.