Tears Of Myhu
by Claire Michaels, futuristic (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-59998-437-7


Myhu is the name of a comet in this story. Tears Of Myhu refers to a cataclysmic event that happened to Earth during the passing of Comet Myhu in year 2307, when the comet caused some kind of chemical reaction in the atmosphere to produce corrosive acidic rain that decimated nearly all of the human population. Of course, even before that people started using names straight out of a 1960s science-fiction novel, so the first Great Emperor of Earth after the worst of Tears of Myhu had settled was not James or Henry or Ali Baba but Kin'dar. Kin'dar and the few other people who called themselves the Awakened had special powers. I believe they would have called themselves the X-Men were not for pesky copyright laws.

Then Kin'dar died and Pienu took over. Probably traumatized by the lack of apostrophe in his name, Pienu is evil. Because every other romantic science-fiction story has to revolve around reproductive organs, Pienu's greatest homage to Ming the Conqueror was the banning of shagging in the name of love - shagging's to be done only for reproduction purposes, of course. The Awakened protested and Pienu, when he's not setting up concentration camps and all, ordered them slaughtered. What happened next was called the Dark War. At the start of Tears Of Myhu, ten years have passed and the War may be ending soon with the annihilation of the Awakened.

Call me evil, but when I realize that the characters in this story have names like Da'yel and Emi'le, I don't mind seeing another Tears of Myhu event to bring back normal names, or at least names that aren't overloaded with pointless and unnecessary apostrophes. Da'yel is our hero's name and Emi'le is the heroine. Da'yel and Emi'le grew up in those concentration camps but they have since went separate ways. Today he's a soldier for the Order, Pienu's people, and he calls himself Daniel Barrows, which is General Barrow's name for him after the man adopted him. See! If you don't have apostrophes in your name, you are evil! I'm changing my name to M'rs Gig'gles the first thing tomorrow morning. Who's with me?

As an Elite Officer, Daniel believes that Emi'le was killed in the Dark War so he's all sullen-faced and moody about loving another person and all. Of course, Emi'le isn't dead. This story is how Daniel rediscovers Em'ile and reconnects with his truth and other la-d-da's.

Okay, I'll say this upfront: this could have been a really good character-driven futuristic tale because Daniel has the makings of an antihero who eventually becomes some kind of reluctant hero as he goes up against the people he thought he knew and loved in defense of those new buddies he's come to love and realize are the real good guys. Claire Michaels seems to know what she is doing and she can tell a very interesting story. I cannot put aside this story no matter how much I cringe every time I see an Emi'le, Hido'ni, and Da'yel. Does Ms Michaels really need those apostrophes or is she just putting them there in a mistaken belief that she's not a legitimate science-fiction author until she has dangled apostrophes all over the place? On the bright side, I suppose at least Ms Michaels doesn't start naming all her places and characters using words that begin with or have too many X's and Y's.

What could have been a good story ends up being a very distracting read because Ms Michaels writes as if she is submitting something for a pulp fantasy novel in the 1950s and 1960s. The heroine Emi'le is very weak, rarely speaks, and despite having powers, can't do a thing without Daniel at her side to protect or save her. Ms Michaels believes too much in the power of the apostrophe to carry her world-building.

There's a good story in here somewhere and Ms Michaels has a pretty fluid and easy-to-read writing style. Now all she needs is to ditch all those antiquated conventions she harbors about futuristic and science-fiction writing and keep up with the times. The seeds of brilliance are there, now all the author needs to do is to find a way to make them germinate. Calling people T'om, D'ick, and Ha'rry is not the way to start.

Rating: 73


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