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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Claim Blame by Alan Dean Foster

Fantasy & Science Fiction, November 2012

After reading other works by Alan Dean Foster (review of his latest trilogy), one admires the broad range of Foster's abilities.  While his latest novels deal with gene-modification in a way that should , his latest story in F&SF reinvents the American tall tale, mixing in European folk tales as well.

Mad Amos Malone, a giant, is asked to settle claim for gold between two humans and a herd of gnomes.  After trading claims, what ensues is a kind of the-lady-who-swallowed-the-fly scenario.  Leprechauns are summoned from across the pond and a melee follows hot on the heels as gold is promised.  Malone's compromise is welcomed with mixed feelings.  The colloquial, narrative voice is charming and feels authentic if at times thick.  As in the tradition of American yarns, no characters develop, but a collection of such stories should prove interesting.

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