Thursday, July 24, 2014

Storyteller by Amy Thomson

 My first impression of this book was that it had some similarities, plot-wise, if not in style, to Citizen of the Galaxy and a few other Heinlein works. The main thread begins when Teller, an itinerant senior master storyteller, rescues a young beggar, Samad, from being punished for theft, and, as Heinlein once said, "when you free a slave, you become responsible for making sure they can survive on their own (not a politically correct sentiment at all, is it?)" So, she ends up adopting the boy and they begin their travels around the world of Thalassa, and Samad's education.

Thomson uses this framework to gracefully show us the story of how the Pilot first landed on Thalassa - its creation myth - and guided the settlers who finally arrived by starship later into creating a peaceful colony, in harmony with the harsels, the dominant intelligent sea creatures on the planet. The Pilot had lost her "Jump" abilities when she was shipwrecked, but bonded with the eldest and greatest of the harsels via mindspeech.

As Teller and Samad travel together, she relates, bit by bit, all of the stories that tie the colonists to their traditions, and we are also given all the background information that we need to understand the planet and its cooperative races, without ever feeling like we've just gotten a massive data dump. The book is billed as for young adults, and it maintains a PG rating aside from some mild heterosexual and homosexual scenes, where Samad figures out just who he is, as he grows into a young adult, and becomes a master storyteller himself.

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