Monday, August 03, 2009

Reader's Diary #514- Arthur Slade: Gydian Fights His Greatest Foe

Tomorrow I leave on a road trip. It's the first time since moving to the north in 2001 that I've been able to actually drive to another province, so yes, I'm pretty excited. So what wild and exciting place am I going? Saskatchewan of course! With Saskatchewan, I'll have visited every province in Canada. After that, I'll just need to tour the Yukon to get my territories badge. Then, I'll probably just end up moving there in a few years anyway.

First we head to the Saskatoon Ex. After hours and hours in a minivan, the kids will need to go a little crazy. A fair seems in order. A couple days of that and it's off to overnight at a ranch in Aylesbury, then we'll cut through Alberta, stopping at Drumheller along the way, and into BC where hopefully they'll have the forest fires under control by that time, back to Calgary where I'll get to meet one of my favourite bloggers and zombies, Barbara, and finally back to Yellowknife with a few short days left before work.

I'll be gone from the 4th to the 20th. Things will likely be quieter around the blog, though I've got a few posts written and scheduled during my absence.

In the meantime, I thought I'd kick off the vacation with a writer from Saskatoon, Arthur Slade. Slade is Governor General's Award winner, his novel Dust winning in the children's literature category in 2001. He keeps a fun website here, which includes a couple of complete short stories. I've chosen "Gydian Fights His Greatest Foe."

GFHGF reminded me a lot of Terry Pratchett's humour. Pratchett's fans will most likely enjoy the tone of this story as well. My one and only experience with Pratchett was very disappointing, so I was skeptical of Slade's work. However, it may have been the small dose of a short story versus the length of a novel that didn't allow Slade's humour to grate on my nerves as Pratchett's did. Ample doses of quirk and satire, within a fantasy world setting, seems better suited to a couple hundred words.

GFHGF is the story of a knight impeded on his mission to slay a dragon by financial constraints and bureaucracy. It might be easy to draw parallels to modern day warfare and the like, but that would probably be over-thinking the piece. This is a lighthearted story and is best left hinting at serious issues rather than taking them on full force.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below! For the next two weeks SSM will be on hiatus on this blog, but feel free to host the event on your own! )


Teddy Rose said...

We just got back from Calgary and are off to Edmonton on August 4-10. LOL! John, were like 2 ships passing.

Great short story review! I will have to check him out!

Here's mine:

John Mutford said...

Teddy: I'd like to see the ship that makes it across the rockies. More like two trains, I guess.

Stacy said...

I will definitely be reading the Slade story. I am not much into dragons and such but to see dragon and bureaucracy in the same sentence piques my interest.

Here is my link to SSM...

Have a fantastic vacation and stay safe.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am so excited to meet you and your lovely family that I don't know if I can sit still long enough to read a short story. But I will try.

Safe travels, my friend - you are going to love the Royal Tyrell Museum!

Joanna said...


Just a bit of trivia for you -- Arthur Slade's family is from Moose Jaw and the Slade Family owned the Harwood Hotel which is now Temple Gardens Mineral Spa. It doesn't sound like you will get to southern Sask. Enjoy your trip