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One Bright Star to Guide Them: 07/04/09
John C. Wright, as the introduction explains, has written nine novels and has recently turned towards expanding on the works of others. In other words, he gets paid to write fan fiction. "On Bright Star to Guide Them" is one of these "expanded" stories, a piece of fantasy that builds on the Carbonel series by Barbara Sleigh.
I've only read the first book in the series so I have a feeling I've just read a whole bunch of spoilers by reading "One Bright Star to Guide Them." That's one of the pitfalls of reading fanfic.
So like Hook, "On Bright Star to Guide Them" revisits the characters long after they've had their adventure. It starts with Tommy who is trying to get into his flat and is shivering in the October cold. He's lost his keys and he makes a prayer to find them. Instead, he finds a very familiar cat wearing a very familiar key.
Tybalt, son of Carbonel, calls on Tommy to go on a dangerous quest to save humanity from a rising darkness. He takes up the call, throwing aside his humdrum adult life for the sort of adventure he hasn't had since he was a child. Unfortunately his remaining companions don't share he love of adventure or his belief in magic. He is seen as off his rocker and must contend with well meaning authorities who wish to see him committed for his own good.
The central theme of this story is one of innocence and it's inherent magical potential. To set apart the adult world from the children's world of magic and imagination, the story is much darker than I remember Carbonel: King of Cats being. Tommy is also forced to sacrifice the hero of his own childhood fantasies to save the world (and prove his faith in the magic behind his fantasies). Here the story collides head-on with The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and I found the resulting mashup disconcerting and out of step with the one book I've read.
Comment #1: Monday, June, 8, 2009 at 08:43:55
Thanks for this. I gotta check it out!
Comment #2: Thursday June 11, 2009 at 16:58:55
FSF is a lovely magazine with lots of variety in the stories published. They ship all over the world.
Comment #3: Wednesday, June, 17, 2009 at 09:51:18
I should check out this magazine. I've been hearing stories from it on some of the podcasts I listen to.
Thanks for stopping by Short Story Sunday.
Comment #4: Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 15:40:12
It's a great magazine. I've been a subscriber now for 2 years and have read so many wonderful stories.