Thursday, January 20, 2011
Short Story by Greg van Eekhout
This story inspired van Eekhout's Norse Code, where he expands on some of the ideas from this story at novel length. I'm hoping to actually buy it soon, and I will then try to review it here. It looks like everything I wished American Gods had been, and I've been impressed with van Eekhout a few times this year.
Munin and Hugin fly over Southern California, preparing a pre-Ragnarok report for Odin (including windchill statistics from CNN). As the end of the world approaches, they meet Baldr and Hod, who ask the ravens to tell them a story. They tell about Vidar and Vali's plot to free Fenrir, so as to bring about Ragnarok sooner (Vidar and Vali are prophesied to survive Ragnarok, while most of the other gods die, leaving some of the younger ones to pick up the pieces.)
While this story-within-the-story gets us started with the themes of predestination, free will, and whether or not the gods are really puppets to destiny, or if they can effect their own change, the story takes off in a much more serious and emotional direction. Hugin's decision at the end is what absolutely makes this one for me, and I did love it. Possibly my favorite PodCastle of the year, this is funny, thoughtful, moving, and oddly hopeful for a story about the end-of-days. 4.5 ravens out of 5.