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2009 story 192

I'm not sure if it's going to become a regular thing, but the second Gabriel Hunt novel, Hunt Through The Cradle of Fear, includes a new novelette (that's what they call it in the introduction) by Charles Ardai.  I sort of hope it will be a continuing feature, the way the reprints of old SF stories were a regular thing in the back of the Perry Rhodan adventures Forrest Ackerman published back in the day.

Anyway, my thoughts on:

192. Nor Idolatry Blind The Eye by Charles Ardai.  The main character here is a washed-up drunken former soldier named Malcolm Stewart, whom we find involved in a bar brawl at the opening of the story.  Once upon a time Malcolm may have been incredibly good in a fight, but since the death of his wife he's lost the will.  Which makes him, perhaps, the perfect person to complete a blinded man's quest to re-find a Biblical artifact -- an artifact the blinded man has found and lost once already.  The main mystery of the story is whether that biblical object really exists.  The main concern of the story, though, is whether Malcolm is doing the job because he thinks he can succeed or because he knows he's going to fail and by failing, die.  And that's where Ardai takes a standard genre "adventure story" and gives it something more.  There's a real sense of defeatism and desperation that runs through the story, a real concern that our main character (I hesitate to call him 'our hero') will survive the story.  (NOTE: I am purposefully not telling you what the Biblical item is, because for me it was one of those "oh, cool concept" moments that I hate to spoil for anyone.)  Definitely enjoyed this one!

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