Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Still Small Voice

Short Story by Ben Burgis
Originally Published by Podcastle, reading by David Rees-Thomas

A story revolving around King James I, the King James Bible, and the Popish Recusants Act, in an England where executions are carried out via dragon, the American colonies have magic, and the Church of England's main beef with the pope is whether you are limited to five wives, or can go all the way up to six.

A new heresy has sprung up among some members of the court, instead of five gods, they think there are only three. James' bastard son has to figure out what's going on at court, witness the birth of English atheism, and help save his friend from execution.

The main theme here is that people have a right to knowledge, but the more knowledge they have, the more choice they have, and rulers can't dictate what choices people make once those people are better educated. But they'll often try. I quite liked the metaphor of knowledge as an unchained dragon.

I liked the story, it was an unusual alternate history, an exciting story, with some interesting themes on religion and freedom of religion. Nothing I haven't seen before, but admittedly shorter, with more dragons. The ending was fun and adventurous, if maybe a bit too easy.

3.5 gods out of 5.

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