Short Stories 366:9 — “A Crooked Road Home,” by Caroline Sciriha

coverMost of the stories in Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) bring a protagonist to the table to really root for, and while Sciriha’s pirate is conflicted, I struggled to wish well of him given the first we see of him is his dooming a colony ship worth of passengers to suffocate and die. So this wasn’t going to be a Rah-rah, you go, guy! kind of story.

Pirates aren’t kind people, and even in a futuristic setting there’s going to be that level of death in play, and as his past is explored, there was some sympathy given for how he got to where he got. He feels bad about it, and that’s at least something, and he’s in an impossible situation, too, with a horrendous father higher up on the piracy food-chain, and a near insurmountable debt he can only repay by piracy, but… I couldn’t shake all the deaths.

So it was a nice turn in the story when another character was introduced I did care for, and since that meant rooting for the pirate captain to find enough of his shredded decency, I was down for it. And Sciriha doesn’t let him completely off the hook, which would have left me feeling kind of gross about the whole thing. It’s well balanced, and ultimately satisfying.

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