At Earth's Edge
by Christine McKay, fantasy (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-631-0


At Earth's Edge introduces the Collcrin, a race who retreated behind... a wall between worlds, I'm told. It's an actual wall, complete with Towers (capital T) and such. And immortal powerful beings man the wall, keeping humans and their destructive technology out. And then we have Aderyn, a Keeper who has taken in Owen, a human soldier, six years ago and is now having an affair with him. And then more humans show up to threaten Aderyn's happiness.

At least, that's what I think happened in this story. I hope I got the details right, but I can't promise anything, because this is one of those short stories where I'm left hanging by the last page wondering what the heck had happened. I've only a vague idea of the setting and I have no idea what makes the main characters tick. They spend a lot of time in the first half having sex, and then face dangers and what not in the speed of an express train rushing downhill in the second half of the short story. When the whole thing is over, I can only mutter, "What have I just read again?"

This could have been a good story. Despite the dangerously clichéd "humans invented weapons of mass destruction and are therefore bad to the world" premise, Aderyn is as far from a dim-witted hippie dipstick heroine as can be. In fact, she is capable of doing something without losing control or having to rely on the hero to clean up her mess. Her character, if developed more, would have been a memorable one as she is torn between both worlds. She has a strong and dominant presence in these pages. There are many interesting possibilities where Aderyn is concerned, but alas, none of them are realized here. The setting, or what little of it that I can glean from this story, could have been a pretty interesting one too if it has been developed more. This one could have been good.

At Earth's Edge is a rushed story that sacrificed much of the space that could have been used for world building as well as story line and character development for sex scenes. Perhaps if this story has done away with sex scenes altogether, perhaps if the story has been longer, perhaps if I can read the author's mind and am privy to the details of this setting inside her head - so many perhaps at the end of the day, sigh.

Rating: 57


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