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The Spiral Briar: 05/09/09
At long last I'm current again with my reading of F&SF. Of course the June / July issue is out and I'll still be reading the April/May issue next month.
The first story in the April / May issue is "The Spiral Briar" by Sean McMullen. Like "The Twilight Year" the story is set in England, though in a later century. Sir Gerald seeks revenge at the death of his sister after a failed kidnapping attempt by an elf lord. He seeks to close the portal between the human world and Faerie that lies on the water of the river. His solution is one that involves some steam punk engineering.
"The Spiral Briar" is told in small pieces, each section named for the main character or theme: The Brother, The Armorer, The Blacksmith and so forth. Having just read The Books of Magic by Neil Gaimen I guessed pretty quickly what Sir Gerald's men were instructed to build. There isn't anything remotely steam punk in Gaiman's graphic novel but he describes the basic rules of crossing into Faerie and how to avoid getting trapped. Those rules apply directly to the methods used in building the craft and its ability to shut the portals.