on May 16, 2011
Hank Quesne is equally accomplished, and equally amusing, in the short story format as in his novels. "Saving the Shore" is just plain good fun, with affectionate smiles at the expense of another literary classic. The other two stories in this collection are social satires that relate to the modern world. The satire has a sharp edge, but Quesne is the sort of author who tickles rather than cuts you with the literary scalpel.
Who else would have cast Lucretia Borgia as an office secretary in one of the world's financial hubs? It isn't her choice, of course (she's capable of far more demanding roles and in any case she wants to find love), but neither her father, Pope Alexander VI, nor their real employer, Satan, believes that a woman can rise above the level of secretary. Unfortunately for their schemes, Heaven is playing dirty tricks. The denouement is highly satisfying.
If "Sponsored By..." wasn't so downright funny, the feeling it would convey would be anger - at militarism, at commercialism and at the treatment of offenders. Quesne makes his point forcefully, but he makes us laugh while he's doing it. This is an excellent piece of writing. I don't know any other author (except Terry Pratchett, perhaps) who can make incisive social comments in a genuinely entertaining way.