Thursday, January 20, 2011

And the Blood of Dead Gods Shall Mark the Score

Short Story by Gary Kloster

Woody is a transsexual ex-thief turned tattoo artist who can't afford to biologically become a man, but wants to. When former controlling lover, Huck, comes back to L.A. and his life, Woody is dragged back to the criminal world she'd escaped. Woody has a special ability to sniff out the blood of gods, and the new score is the blood of Ungud, the aboriginal god of snakes and rainbows and desire, a god who could be male or female, depending on its want. Woody wants to become male, Huck wants to get revenge on their old partner Nikolai.

They plan and execute their heist and then everything goes completely to hell, as expected. There is a neat dynamic of both Nikolai and Huck using Woody and trying to control him as part of their rivalry, while Woody just wants to be left alone and not used as part of a scoring system. Eventually Woody is forced to choose which ex-partner-in-crime hurt him worse, and they both seem such asshole, I really don't know how he chose. I think I might have gone the other way, but then again, it would have been nice to just off both of them. I don't really like the ending, but it is open enough not to really kill things for me.

Woody is a great character, grabbing freedom by creating chaos that others can't deal with as well. My problem with the end is that I think Huck doesn't deserve that kind of redemption, but it could just be that Woody is such a strong point of view character, and Ms. Ellis has such appropriate voices for the characters, that all my sympathy goes to Woody and none to Huck, whom he resents. Or maybe Woody still has dependency issues to get over. Either way, the plot is nothing special, and all the characters besides Woody are generic assholes, but Woody is a great character, the setting is interesting, and the concept of making tattoos out of god blood which varies by which god it came from is interesting. Oh, and it was pretty well written too. 3.5 frat-boy tribal tattoos out of 5.

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