Short Stories 366:114 — “Flight of the Hydro Chorus,” by A.J. Fitzwater

Okay, let’s be clear: I love a good pun. When I hit this final tale about the anthropomorphized capybara pirate, Cinrak, in this delightful collection, The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper, and saw the title? I legitimately had to put down my e-reader for a second and just salute. Because, come on. That’s brilliant.


Okay, so here we are at the end of this collection (sniffle) and Cinrak is trying to succeed at something tied to the movement of the heavens and there’s a limited window and it really matters, because it really matters to one of Cinrak’s extended chosen family/crew—Agnes, the leviathan—and maybe, just maybe, Cinrak’s mix of salty magic, chosen family, crew, and deep sense of daring will be enough to succeed at a task no one actually might understand in the first place.

“Hydro Chorus” (snerk) is such the right ending for this collection, as it seems to circle back around to all the things Cinrak wanted out of life in “Young Cinrak”: to have this circle of chosen people, especially pirates and a ship, but also to help and to build and to make connections, and by the end of the tale? Well. I refuse to spoil it for you, but there was magic enough in it to almost blunt the sadness of knowing it was my last visit with Cinrak and her kin.

Because I loved this collection so very much, I asked A.J. Fitzwater for insight into the various stories one last time…

From the author:


Oh, did I have fun with this title! I had to put a pun related to the scientific name for capybara somewhere in the book, and what better place than a story about songs and stars, bringing it all back to where it started. 

Can you imagine Agnes in the years before she met Benj and Cinrak straining to leap into the night sky, arms reaching out to the stars, skipping like an enormous squiddy stone across the ocean surface when she couldn’t defy gravity? Again, here is the loving interconnectedness of the magic and people of this world. They all need each other to thrive. And eventually the stars recognize this, coming back to share what they’ve learned of their hubris and the sky beyond the sky.

Find The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper at Queen of Swords Press, or Books2Read.
Find A.J. Fitzwater on Twitter, or at

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