Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"With Morning Comes Mistfall" by George R. R. Martin

First Printing:  Analog, May 1973

Sometimes, an author comes along who really connects with you. George R. R. Martin is one of those authors when he is writing short fiction. I have not read enough of his novels to see if this is true of them.

“With Morning Comes Mistfall” contains all of the traditional Martin tropes.
• A castle in an improbable place.
• An alien world with mysteries
• Mists, fog and other atmospheric conditions that help set the mood
• A character who does not belong in their world (similar to Roger Zelazny’s)

In this world, the mists fall in the morning and rise at dusk. So the world is either fogged in or dark. It makes it hard for explorers to map this world.  Various visitors have died in the valley. Rumor has it that they were killed by a mysterious native race. A group comes with the equipment needed to the mystery once and for all. Of course this upsets the owner/builder of the castle who gets most of its clients from people who want to see if they can spot the natives. Either way, this mystery will be solved. The owner laments that
humanity does not need to solve every mystery. The story is told from the point of view of a reporter who sympathizes with the owner.

Is it good to know the answer to every question? This is the main theme. When you read a story that is this good, it is easy to see the author’s point. It is a story that I will re-read in the future. This was my second time to read it.

In my opinion, I too felt sad at the end of this story. The universe is a sad place when the mystery is gone.


adamosf said...

You should definitely try some of Martin's early novels, particularly DYING OF THE LIGHT and WINDHAVEN (the latter written with Lisa Tuttle). I think they provide the same sense of wonder as his better short fiction.

Carl V. said...

I have only dipped into Martin recently, with the collaborative novel Hunter's Run and with the first of his fantasy series, A Game of Thrones. I found both to be excellent, engaging page turners. I would certainly be interested in dipping into his short fiction at some point.