Monday, June 21, 2010

"A Wild and a Wicked Youth" by Ellen Kushner

A "coming of age" fantasy, it feels a little like a story ticking items off a checklist: Here we learn that Richard is fabulously agile and has an unusually developed sense of balance. Here he meets a broken-down old swordsman who will, over the course of years, teach him about swordsmanship. Here is a homosexual encounter. Here is Richard's first public display of his early mastery of the sword. Here is his first heterosexual encounter.

That makes it sound overly routine. Instead, it is quite fine. It takes place within the author's "Riverside" series of novels and short fiction. I haven't read any of this series before. Now, I would like to.

"A Wild and a Wicked Youth" by Ellen Kushner originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, April/May 2009.

Related post: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Four, table of contents

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