The Homecoming by K. A. Masters


Tell us what you thought of the February 2010 issue.

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Post February 24, 2010, 12:01:44 PM

The Homecoming by K. A. Masters

High fantasy stories like this one demonstrate how creativity can be unleashed and follow no restriction. Mermen, Dragons, and Elves mixed up with a dynasty that is human in origin but has adapted some of its bloodline to live in the waters. Whether salt of fresh water, Arnath, the Merman, can survive.

A male carrying a child? I’m sure there are some species like the seahorse with that capability, but I can’t think of any others at the moment.

Larissa would have rubbed Arnath’s tail raw by dragging it. All fist tails are very sensitive to abrasion, and I assume that a merman’s tail would be too.

Interesting suggestion that prejudice or fear of the unknown or unusual can exist in any environment with anything that is near human. Arnath is beaten by his own kind! He carries the child of his pregnant wife after she dies. Even if he is a Healer, what he did appears to be somewhat taboo in his world.

All though-out this story, we are introduced to questions about families, one’s heritage and possibly inter-racial marriage. The symbolism of a merman and a human bearing a child point to that, but then again, almost any story can reflect our society without the author intending to make a statement.

I thought the writing very descriptive yet not too forceful. I couldn’t find any words of sentences interjected just to fill up space, and no redundancy. Good unity, and word choices.

Interesting one :?:
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Post February 25, 2010, 11:52:58 AM

The dialogue seemed a bit stilted, even for a high fantasy piece. Given the fact that dialogue constitutes a large portion of the narrative, this is problematic. There is definitely a preponderance of telling over showing. I felt at times I was reading a history text rather than a story. More action and less talking would have strengthened the piece quite a bit.

I thought the concept was sound and imaginative, although it seemed incomplete, as if this was an excerpt from a larger story or novel. The bloodlines started to confuse me toward the end. I was trying to figure out if she had Fae blood or not, given that she was adopted. It's not a good thing if your reader has to reread parts to understand what's going on, but that might have been just me and this particular story.
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Post March 03, 2010, 08:20:27 PM

I agree a lot with what Jaimie and Megawatts have said. I do like the fantasy elements of this story; the merman was interesting and kept me reading. But, from the beginning I was kind of thrown off by Larissa, her motivation, her background, her situation, and her dialogue. For instance, if I found a floundering merman on the shore of the sea, my reaction would be to push him back into the sea, not drag him home to my fishpond. At least if I was at all concerned about his health, as Larissa claimed to be. :) How did she manage to lift and drag him? It didn't seem very realistic to me, if that makes sense. Give her a horse or a cart or something, it would have been simpler and more believable.

The author obviously put a lot of thought and creative energy into imagining the background, but the lengthy family history got to be too much for me as well. And I didn't understand why Larissa was with her fiance. I thought the attempts to make the birth seem realistic, ie the blood in the fishpond for instance, were out of sync with what I assumed was more of an attempt at high fantasy that was suggested by the dialogue. I also thought the healing power of the merman and his potion to grow feet or change someone else into a mer-person forever, while interesting, were just a little too convenient and contrived in the context of the story; he seems to have a potion for just about everything.

If it was me, I'd cut this story down to just showing Larissa finding Arnath, gaining his trust, helping him in the birth of his child, and then ending it with the confrontation between Larissa's fiance, her, and Arnath. Make the fiance a little more sympathetic so that Larissa's choosing of Arnath's safety over her fiance's wishes is more meaningful. Make the choice harder and that could be the climax of the story. And show the confrontation, don't just tell us what happened.

Those are my two cents. Toss them in the fishpond if you don't find them valuable. :D

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Post March 15, 2010, 05:32:18 PM

"Telling"...

What if we as readers are from the wrong age? This tale reminds me of the dilemma teens face in English class. Over in Mr. Brock's class they get to read War of the Worlds, while we in Miss Mildred's class are looking at Jane Austen. There may be very little difference between "showing" and "telling" in those Parlor Society times. When the height of the evening's excitement is a five hour discussion over why Mrs. Van Der Whimple's son wants to marry below his station, it reminds me of the effect here.

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