55327_girl-writing_mdI’m continuing my reviews of the Hugo nominees. This story appeared in Analog, 06-2014.

Teodorq sunna Nagarajan and Sammi o’ th’ Eagles are headed eastward in the World when they find someone has built a great stone house to control the pass through the mountains. They hide to check it out, but are captured by a woman with a crossbow and caged in the stronghold. After questioning, they are conscripted into the kospathin’s troops and given sword training. Teodorq’s enemy Kel has also been captured, and both know a contest between them is coming. The kospathin’s Wisdom shows them relics of a space ship, and they tell him about finding a fallen shuttle with a “ghost” named Jamly who talked to them and asked them to find starmen’s villages. As the training goes on, Kel takes his chance on attacking Teodorq, but misses. The kospathin sets up a contest where both draw blood, satisfying Kel for the moment. It appears they will be sent to fight other forces eastward, which is fine, as this was the direction they were traveling. Teodorq resolves to continue looking for the starmen’s villages.

This novelette also reads like part of a novel, and events don’t resolve. However, this episode is fun and interesting to read, as the writer has spent some time on humor, characterization, description and world building, including a very readable jargon. Sammi is a real card. Three stars.