An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity: 02/14/09
Remember Zork I: The Great Underground Empire? Jim Aikin does and it has inspired him a number of times in his short story writing. His latest story in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is called "An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity."
The story takes place in turn of the last century England. An unnamed protagonist is invited to a dinner party at Portnoy James's house. The talk of the dinner is the spotlessness of Elves and the undesirability of half-breeds. As a sign of power and pride, Mr. James shows off his Elvish sword, a spoil of war perhaps. Everyone except the narrator touches the sword and marvels at its beauty and age. They also treat it like a play thing.
Of course things go horribly wrong and if the narrator is to be believed, it was the sword that did it. The narrator's identity is wrapped up in the sword's behavior and possibly his innocence or guilt depending on how reliable a narrator one thinks he is.
The only other Jim Aikin short story I've read is "Run, Run," a modern day fantasy involving unicorns in the United States. Of the two stories, I much preferred "An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity." I guess that's my inner geek coming through.
Comment #1: Sunday, February, 15, 2009 at 22:18:46
Yes, I remember "Zork I" and I remember "The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction."
I believed, however, that neither one of those was around these days. Glad to hear the magazine is still available -- I ought to get a subscription...
Comment #2: Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 21:52:04
FSF is celebration it's 60th year. They have a nice website and forum too here.