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Vicar of Mars: An Almost Great Half Finished Tale

Updated on September 1, 2019

Vicar of Mars by Gwyneth Jones

Right now I am working my way through The Terror by Dan Simmons. And holy wow, I have to take breaks every three hundred pages or so. So during this break I decided to dive back to The Years Best Scifi 29th Edition to read a short called The Vicar of Mars by Gwyneth Jones.

So what is this about? It is set in the far flung future following Booaz Hanaahaahn, a traveling high priest of alien origin. He travels to a Mars city known as Butterscotch. He is there to help a rich human colonist who is troubled. But this woman Isabel Jewel is unlike others he met, and he may not be prepared for the sort of darkness she may be hiding.

So the good and bad? Let’s start with the good. The world building is great. Butterscotch is detailed and uniquely different city than cities in other scifi tales. The characters are great as well. I loved the lead. He is so unique and out of his element on this new planet. The story is also overall great as well.

The bad? Once the reader discovers what is really happening, it opens up a number of brand new doors. At that point in the story, I thought, “That’s actually a brilliant concept. I wonder what they’ll do with it.” The answer is nothing. The story just ends pretty abruptly throwing all that good potential of imagination out the window what happened. It does wrap things up, but just in what seemed to be cheapest and laziest way possible. It was almost like half way through the story, the author realized she had an hour before the deadline and quickly wrapped it up with a couple pages because she had no choice.

Overall, this story has so much good stuff to it. I was thoroughly enjoying it. And the moment an exciting plot twist happens it just ends. As much as I love most of it, it feels like it’s unfinished. It’s half of a story with a tacked on ending and for me that is pretty unforgiveable. I give it two smoothies. That is only because there are enjoyable elements here which keeps it from being flat out bad.

2 smoothies out of four.

Overall Rating: An Almost Great Half Finished Tale.

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