Today my husband and I went out to get a dose of history and visited the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. We wandered among the planes and read the plaques and I was reminded of how much I love museums when there's such a story to the exhibits. It was especially wonderful to see the Lancaster Bomber, since that plane has some significant ties within my family.
It was the same in New York and Ediburgh and London, when we looked at exhibits. The ones that came with a story - not just a placard explaining the date of the piece - were the ones that drew me in the most. I've never tried to really write a historical story. For one, I don't trust myself to get the details right. But I can't help but look at exhibits like that and feel stories spring to life. They make me wonder.
Which is I guess the point.
"Sons of Orion," by Xavier Axelson
"Sons of Orion" is the next story up in Tricks of the Trade, and has that sense of history to it. That's not to say it's a historical story in the usual sense. Here the sense of ancient that pervades the tale is one born of magic, of the Djin, and of a choice and a loss that are carried by a man for so long they might drive him to a dark end. A modern day man of illusion has a real magical past at his beck and call, and the temptation to seek out something he long ago lost is overwhelming. But is it worth risking everything for a chance at something you once had?
What Axelson does in such a short space builds such a rich world. Nothing is explained, exactly, but a solid sense of structure exists, and I have to admit that upon the ending of the tale, I still wanted to know more about this world Axelson had crafted for the tale. As world-building goes, it had the weight of history to it - and in a short piece, that's a lot to accomplish.