The Ice Owl: A Fantastical Tale That’s Sadly Incomplete
The Ice Owl by Carolyn Ive Gilman
The Ice Owl by Carolyn Ive Gilman
So it has been a crazy couple of weeks, but I finally got some free time to sneak in a short story. Yet again this is another short from This Years Best Scifi 29th Edition. And the story is a little oddity called The Ice Owl by Carolyn Ice Gilman.
What is it about? It is a far future tale set in a galaxy far far away. On another planet lives a girl named Thorn, and she lives with her mother Maya. They have a long history of running from planet to planet because Thorn was illegally born and her DNA is property of her father. They are currently living near the slums in the city of Glory To God. The slums are spit on by the higher ups who are morally effected by money in their own way. But a new movement rises called The Incorruptible. When these Incorruptibles burn down her school, she becomes an apprentice to a friend of her mother Mr. Pregalden. There she learns about his work and about the history of the Vind and Gminta races. But Thorn learns there’s more to people than she first knew and things aren’t meant to last forever.
The good? This is an interesting piece of work. Traditionally I couldn’t care less for space opera sort of stories. But this had something special to it. It’s a fantastical world that was not too fantastical to be outrageous. It seemed somewhat grounded and relatable. That made things so great as well. And the story has a lot original unique elements and story lines tied seamlessly together. It’s a meaty little story.
The bad? Well first off is a huge plot hole. Thorn is not human and is around a hundred years old, so it didn’t make sense why she was in school. Also a lot of names are thrown out from the beginning. The Vind, Gmitras, and Protectorate are among a few groups of people keep track of and need to remember. Also the races of people are not described. Thorn is not human, among others in this story. I would just like some character detail. But my biggest gripe with this story is the ending. There are four interesting story lines that made me realize I had no idea where it was going. And it was all so enjoyable and great, that I just knew if the author continued in this spectacular fashion, this might be one of my favorite stories. But then the author pulled the brakes to a terrible sudden ending within the next page. It was like the author just said screw it, wrote some BS down just to get it done with it. Which is a shame. And in the context of the story the ending doesn’t make sense. What about the Incorruptibles and their revolution? Hunter’s Story? Mr Pregaldins’ quest for revenge? The ice owl even? It’s all cut short promptly to take on a nonsensical ending about mommy issues for some reason, which makes little sense because Thorn is around a hundred (though she looks like a child) and shouldn’t be under her mother’s care anyways. It’s all very disappointing.
Overall, this is a great imaginative read that could have been so much better. I don’t know why it has such a poor ending that hurts so much. So I can’t recommend it to everyone due to the disappointment. But if you like something that can spark your imagination and have those ideas rattle in your head a little while because you never seen them before, then you’ll get something out of it. It just has no ending. It’s like a half-finished movie. It’s just incomplete.
Overall Rating: A Fantastical Tale that’s Sadly Incomplete
2 ½ out of four.