Friday, April 20, 2012

Long Looks at Short Fiction: Pekra by Tom Doolan

Tom Doolan
Kindle format, 0.99

If I didn't already know that he was, I would guess by reading this that Tom Doolan is the father of a teenage girl.  He seems to capture the viewpoint quite well.  At least I think he does, never having been a teenage girl myself.

"Pekra" is Tom's latest piece of short fiction.  Like the previous"Blackskull's Captive", reviewed here, this is an orc story, only this time it's not set in space.  It's also significantly shorter, making it the perfect thing to read while taking a quick lunch break.

This is also a little different than most orc stories.  It's a love story of sorts.  Pekra is a young orc whose parents are on her case because her sister has found a mate and is with child.  Why can't she do the same?  So she does, or at least tries to.  In orc society the females choose the mates.  If two females fight over a male, the male is stuck with the winner, like it or not.  As you might expect, Pekra is challenged when she tries to choose her mate (chosen in part because her choice will annoy her parents).  The result is a cat fight, orc style. 

This was a short tale, but thoroughly enjoyable.  Both Pekra and her choice of mate are well characterized, and the fight scene is a blast.  (Not literally, the two orcs don't have any explosives.)  As Tom said in his announcement on his blog, this one would have been hard to market.  I'm glad he published it himself.  It focused on an aspect of orc society that isn't usually shown, the mating ritual.  I wouldn't mind seeing more of these characters in a longer tale.  Check it out.