Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"The Undiscovered" by William Sanders

So, apparently, alternate history stories are growing on me a bit, since, like "The Lincoln Train," I also quite enjoyed Sanders' short story. "The Undiscovered" is based around the question of "what if Shakespeare had coming to the New World, and ended up living with the Cherokee. Told from the point of view of a Cherokee named Mouse, who became friends with the man he calls Spearshaker. It's a very detailed, well thought out, and well researched tale on Sanders part. In an particularly well-done conceit, Sanders intersperses Mouse's retelling of Shakespeare's time with the Cherokee with snippets from a diary that Shakespeare kept, giving sometimes very divergent interpretations of the same event. My personal favourite is when they decide to put on a play, but Mouse insists that the female characters have to be played by women, as no man would ever dress up in women's clothing. Shakespeare, being Elizabethan, is, of course, more shocked at the prospect of having women on stage.

Ultimately, though, what makes this story interesting are the characters themselves, especially in how they interact and overcome vast cultural differences. I know, this sounds very corny, but it's done in a very realistic, and not-at-all touchy-feely sort of way. In the end, it makes for a tremendously engaging story.

Also, I've just done a re-count, and I realized that I'm still one story behind. I started this effort on September 9th, and, since today is the 24th, that means I should have 76 stories read, not 75. Unfortunately, I'm really too tired to start another story today, so I'll have to do two again tomorrow. After that, I'm definitely trying to get back to a regular schedule, since getting behind seems to equal getting confused.

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