Fire in the Void

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Keshul makes his money cloaking his common sense as fortune-telling for the Jokka of het Narel, and he would be the first to tell you it's all a sham. Or so he thinks, until a patron shows up asking for the wisdom of the Void...

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Published: Oct. 12, 2010
Words: 5,710
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452392608
About M.C.A. Hogarth

Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.

Her fiction has variously been recommended for a Nebula, a finalist for the Spectrum, placed on the secondary Tiptree reading list and chosen for two best-of anthologies; her art has appeared in RPGs, magazines and on book covers.

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Reviews

Review by: Kate Jones on Jan. 17, 2011 : star star star star star
I loved this tale. Poor Keshul, dancing his dances and casting his stones, so sure he's naught but a charlatan...well-written, fun without being fluff. I enjoyed it highly.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: K. Starbuck on Nov. 24, 2010 : star star star star star
A favorite of this reviewer, this Jokka story is excellent for the casual reader.

Keshul, our protagonist presents an almost human point of view toward a very mythical element of his own society.

Nothing in this story is overly rushed, dramatic, or sappy. The temptation arises mid-story to seek the happy ending. The writer does not condescend to us and do it. Further readings about this character would be much appreciated as he is both spirited and in his own way, very kind.

Some of the magic of the Jokka world seeps in, in this story and it is highly effective in showing how the magic of this world laps in waves into the shore of more pragmatic reality.

Not a short to be missed by those who have a deep affection for Jokka.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: MeiLin Miranda on Nov. 07, 2010 : star star star star
Sometimes charlatans are on to something.

Another fine Jokka story from MCA Hogarth. Collect 'em all! :D
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Elizabeth McCoy on Oct. 19, 2010 : star star star star star
A return to tragedy, if perhaps second-hand, and a charlatan fortune-teller whose usual good business sense (and other good sense) deserts him -- to his disquiet, as his predictions are more accurate than he expects.

I quite like how there's a mix of his "reading the client" *and* whispers of something More. No, really, coincidence. (Keep telling yourself that, Keshul. Maybe you're right. Honest.)

This is a very short story, and relatively little happens. The narrator, Keshul, carries it strongly, though. I know there are more Keshul stories, and I anticipate them with, er, anticipation. Lots of it.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: JigokuInu on Oct. 18, 2010 : (no rating)
Another well-written Jokka short with a memorable main character. Even in such a short story, the author's ability to give depth of character and world shines. My only quibble is that it seems to end abruptly. That may have been the intent, but it seemed sudden to me.

Over all I did enjoy this and think it fits well into the growing library of Jokka stories. Many touch on religion, few focus on it, and only this one calls it into direct question and gets an answer.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: satyridae on Oct. 18, 2010 : (no rating)
Keshul is a very charming character. One of the fun things about the Jokka is how pretty they are--long manes and tails, spiral patterned skin--and there's lots of that in this one. This story is a thoughtful meditation on priesthood and doubt.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Razz on Oct. 15, 2010 : star star star star
A delightful short piece that meshes well with the other Jokka stories and expands upon the world Hogarth has set up. If you're unfamiliar with these intriguing aliens, this is a passable introduction (though you may want to start with earlier stories in this setting, "Sorrow for Money Made Joy", "Freedom, Spiced and Drunk", and "Unspeakable"). As always, the world-building and alien species/culture are set up nicely in a short space and in such a way that even long-time Jokka fans will enjoy seeing new and old aspects of the world.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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