Reviews: Clarkesworld Magazine

Shorts: Kingfisher

Kingfisher is a puzzle, requiring you to search between the words to understand the man spending eternity to find his lost love. During his search, we see a robust world filled with endless ice, a city the size of a world, and alien races all co-mingling in this strange setting. It’s a tale about obsession and how it can lead your life down confusing paths.

KINGFISHER

Robert Reed
Clarkesworld Magazine, August 2018
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Spoiler

STORY

It’s the story of a man and his quest to right a wrong done to him by the abandonment of a past love. He spends his entire life and all of his money searching for her, casting aside potential lovers and friends, wanting nothing more than to see her. He’s been alive so long he can’t remember who he was or the full details of where he is. Immortality is a given concept for humans in this story, and it isn’t fully explained how he is able to travel for millions of years to find her. The story is written as a myth, with the full explanation just beyond the bounds of understanding.


CHARACTERS

The story centers on a deeply flawed man who is consumed by the memory of a woman he once had a relationship with. He doesn’t particularly love her but he’s invested in the endless chase. It seems to give him meaning that he longs for, so much so that he abandons many other women whom he could have started a life with. He’s definitely a mess of a man, confused at what he wants and deep-set in his ways. It’s hard to understand how he’s immortal, I imagine he’s some kind of god, or the human race has been modified in some way, but I can’t be sure. There’s a bit of tragedy surrounding him, knowing he has spent eternities alone on the ice, flying as fast as he can to find a woman who doesn’t know he’s alive and doesn’t care to search for him. He’s a study in obsession and the devastation is can rack on a life.


SETTING

This is a conundrum of a setting, spanning across an enormous world that houses many other worlds. It appears to be one massive floating ship that has taken on other floating ships, forming an infinite ‘biosphere’ with miles and miles of ice and a city so large, it houses billions of people. I imagined it as an enormous version of The Truman Show, but I can’t be totally sure. The world is quite diverse in its offerings of spaceships and alien races. I appreciated the originality.


CONCEPTS

Space Travel, Worlds, Alien Life, Civilization, Spaceships, Immortality

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