Post September 18, 2015, 08:10:07 AM

Short Story: Overcooked by Walter G. Esselman

When I get to stories longer than Flash, for me it's important to have a few very early clues as to "what the rules of the world" are.

So even though the time frame starts out unclear, it's a nice touch to have a pet "spellotter" made out of water and magic! (Besides it being a cool pet!) That immediately signals that magic is "valid" in this world, so it changes the types of things you can allow later in a plot.

Then we get ""Well, get Brie and come on Lunchmeat," said Pavataro using his old schoolyard nickname for Gideon." Another nice touch - not only do kids get to attend school with dragons (how young was it then?), but it and the diction is slowly suggesting modern periods of some kind. That's not clear, but it seems too humorous to be earlier than about 1800, because the old style of High Fantasy tended to be really stern.

It feels like a few lines are a bit choppy with the wizard, but it then ends well, that a poor water giant just ended up out of its depth.

And it was also refreshing people didn't panic "Giant! Kill it!" So a nice little fable about how the limits of your abilities can slip out of control.