Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Klepsydra: A Chapter from A Faunary of Recondite Beings

Short Story by Michaela Roessner

Lois Tilton points out some extremely valid problems with the linguistics in her review, and although not knowing what a clepsydra is seems odd for a professor interested in ancient greek, neither thing ruins the story for me. Mainly because it is still weird how the word breaks down, and it still breaks into the right roots (I think), the etymological mystery at the heart of the story is still intact, and I wanted to find the answer.

Roessner creates a new imaginary species, and manages to justify it both linguistically and biologically. It turns out to be a specialized species of Solifugid, if you're curious. The bits toward the end regarding the Pharos lighthouse seem silly at first, but they are justified later with the fate of the Alexandria Gardens caretakers. It still seems fantastic and maybe a bit silly, but by the end this conceit seems a lot more necessary and a lot less uselessly silly.

I am a fan of the academic tone of the whole piece, and the footnotes. I'm not sure I can deal with a minor character being named "Nepenthe Threnody" but for the most part I enjoyed this diversion into a land of academics much more fantastic and at least as fascinating as real life archeology.

3.5 Recondite Beings out of 5.

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