15 July 2008 ~ 0 Comments

The Political Prisoner by Charles Coleman Finlay

<This has previously been printed on my personal blog: http://www.anthonysullivan.net/?p=107>

I’ve read over and over again, as I scour the internet and other sources for information that might help me hone my craft as a writer, that it is important to be well read in whatever genre that you intend to write for. So I picked up the August issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine yesterday to get an idea of what they are publishing.

The first story that caught my eye was The Political Prisoner by Charles Coleman Finlay. I must say that I enjoyed it thoroughly. Set in the distant future, this story is focused on the experiences of a seasoned political officer during a revolution that occurs on an unnamed planet that is in the early stages of terraforming.

Finlay’s voice is clear and strong, leaving the reader to enjoy the story while it plays out before them without stumbling over words or poorly crafted sentences. The plot is compelling and thought provoking. I must admit that I was caught off guard at the length of the story, clocking in at about 26k words. Of course this is my own fault; it is clearly labeled an novella at the beginning.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story but the ending is thought provoking as this story of a political prisoner has some parallels with the history of the United States and their treatment of African Americans.

All-in-all this was a great story, with great characters. If no other quality stories existed in the magazine it would have been well worth the $4.50.

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