Subterranean Press Magazine has labeled its Summer 2013 edition a “K. J. Parker Special Issue”. This is very good news for someone like me who is a major fan. If you are not aware of her work, Parker writes no/low-magic, secondary-world fantasy that takes place in a medieval-through-Renaissance-like world. Her stories are complex, dark, humorous, and often quite dry, filled with academic and bureaucratic language, which gives them a sense of realism that secondary world fantasy often lacks.
I write her, but that may not be correct — Parker is a closely-guarded pseudonym, and there is debate over his/her gender (not to mention all sorts of guesses about the person behind the pseudonym might be).
The special issue features one nonfiction essay and two stories written Parker his/herself. I read the essay first and then moved on to The Sun And I. It’s a story about a group of young men who start a religion. As I read it, I was delighted to find that in addition to it pushing all the aesthetic buttons that Parker usually does, it also brought in some slight, but fascinating (to me) Mormon resonances.
I recommend it. And if it turns you off at first–keep reading. There are some surprising turns that it takes.
Let me be clear: I am not suggesting that the story itself is indicative of what I believe/feel about the Joseph Smith story . Or the Moses or Mohammed one, for that matter. What’s important is not the exact details, but rather the emotional states. And the inevitability of the course the religion takes.
But I’ve said too much already and don’t want to color your experience of the story further (warning: it’s quite long). Go read it. And maybe skip the comments until you do because I hope we can toss around some spoilers down there.