Thursday, December 5, 2013

CBR V Review #46: Sandkings by George RR Martin

As an avid reader of Game of Thrones, I was excited to read something Martin wrote outside of the world of Westeros.  I was not disappointed.  This award winning novellette is totally fucked up in exactly the way you would expect from Martin, and it's delicious for that.

Simon Kress is a sadistic douchebag who likes to keep pets that are terrifying or evil in some way.  He comes back to his planet from an off world trip to find his piranhas have eaten each other and goes in search of a new pet to amuse him and his friends.  He finds a new shop, and a new pet - insect like Sandkings.  These are creatures that build communities with their own colored kind and can be made to war against each other.  They also have a complex form of religion, where their caretaker becomes a god to them.  This sounds ideal to Simon, who does not need the store owner's advice to make sure to take good care of them.  Simon denies them food and forces them to wage terrible wars against each other.  Eventually, he pays the price, Outer Limits style.

You know from the outset that Simon is going to pay for what he does in some terrible way, and Martin doesn't disappoint.  Far from it.  In his usual insane and barbaric way, he drags out Simon's fate in what is a suspenseful and terrifying little novellette.  It's a really solid story, and a must for people who enjoy Martin, sci-fi, and people getting what comes to them.

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