‘The Free Orcs of Cascadia’ Short Review

The Free Orcs of Cascadia is a fascinating story detailing the creation of a counterculture where LARPing moves beyond the make believe and becomes reality. We see bands of people identifying as orcs and reverting their society back to pre-modern norms and fighting styles. They’re committed to their way of life, risking everything to live by their own standards. It’s wild to imagine a real life D&D game coming to life, especially when surrounded by modern day cities and technology. They hunt and build their own homes and follow the orc code, which is a bit different than movies have led us to believe. There’s so much to this story, especially in terms of the narrative style. Killjoy switches between interview format and first-person storytelling. It helps us get to know the main character and his beliefs. We see an author who is in disbelief that this extremist culture exists and viewing it from that mindset provides an interesting perspective. 

Overall, The Free Orcs of Cascadia is an expertly written story that’s full of world building and passionate characters. I’m impressed by Killjoy’s ability to create such an insightful story that examines the impact of culture and identity on individuals and society at large.

The Free Orcs of Cascadia

Written by Margaret Killjoy
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
March/April 2019

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