|Plot Summary of The Sandkings|
One of the best sf short stories I have read, ex-college jounalism instructor George R.R. Martin proves with 'The Sandkings' that teachers of writing can do as well as teach. He won the Nebula Best Novelette of 1979 with this work, and it has been anthologised by sf doyen Frank Herbert (Nebula Winners 15). A powerful tale, it has been admired by top writers in the genre for its effectiveness and economical technique.
This dark morality play has an unfortunate main character who has neglected to feed his alien pet menagerie. They starve to death. Only the puppy-eating vulture-like shambler survives, as he rather profits by this sad process. So our man needs a replacement, something unusual, something, well...special. He buys a set of four nests of alien insects, a sort of beetle-ant. They are indeed entertaining: naturally warlike and just barely psionically hive-mind aware. In short, they know who feeds them and worship that being in their own humble but unique way. Unwisely, he encourages their already natural warring nature. The nature of the outcome is predictable but the actuality is a most horrible shock.
This synopsis report prepared by Michael JR Jose
|Chapter Analysis of The Sandkings|
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Story involving clones/duplicates?
- bad clones/duplicates
Kind of alteration:
- exotic/alien torture for major character
Is this an adult or child's book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Cultural problems, alien culture
- one culture tries to impose its culture on another group
- small businessman
Really unusual traits?
- Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin
A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:
- humans in a futuristic society
- inhabited by friendly aliens
- unfriendly aliens
- neutral aliens
Planet outside solar system?
Accounts of torture and death?
- moderately detailed references to deaths
scientific jargon? (SF only)
- some scientific explanation
How much dialogue?
- significantly more descript than dialog
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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