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Short but Sweet, June 23, 2010
I really enjoyed this work. It was short and linear, but very creative and the setting was very evocative. Plotkin is quite good at using a few well-chosen strokes of the literary brush to allude to an extensive backstory, while letting the reader fill in most of the details themselves.
The style nods to classic SF of the pulp era -- Jack Williamson's "rhodomagnetics" makes a distinctive appearance early on, and I'm sure I missed many others. In style and tone I was reminded powerfully of both John Clute's Appleseed and the works of Jack Vance. The society of d'Accord is so advanced that the mechanics and time scales of space travel are of no real relevance to the protagonist, and the nautical metaphor Plotkin uses maps very well onto this setting.
And there's a maze. I don't mind mazes as much as some do, but even maze-haters should enjoy this one. The "room" descriptions are well-written and the mechanics are both novel and thematic.
The ending sequence was a nice finishing touch as well -- I won't spoil it here.
Overall, an excellent short work by a master of the art.