Short Stories 366:306 — “A Hold Full of Truffles,” by Julie E. Czerneda

coverThroughout The Clan Chronicles: Tales from Plexis, edited by Julie E. Czerneda, there’s an ongoing novella, “A Hold Full of Truffles,” happening between the other short stories. Sira and Morgan (the main characters from Czerneda’s series) have been hired to bring a load of truffles to Plexis, the interplanetary trading-post/space-mall where “If you want it, it’s here!” is the slogan and the wheels of the station tend to be greased by bribes, illegal trades, and worse. Upon their arrival, Sira and Morgan hit a wall, though. They need money (their ship needs some work, for one thing), this deal is going to make them the money they need (did I mention the ship needs work?), and they’re pretty much running on nothing—and then suddenly there’s a new “tariff” imposed on their truffles and they’re going to barely break even and that’s a problem.

As the couple work their way through Plexis (in interludes between the other stories, where sometimes we catch glimpses of ongoing events in those stories, and other times we just bump into someone we’re about to explore in a story), they make connections, talk to people they know, and Sira marvels at just how many people her human companion seems to know—and wonders at just what, exactly, his plan might be to get them out of this mess.

I had to go back and re-read the interludes once I caught up to this part of the story, since I’d been reading the short stories in the anthology between other books, but I imagine anyone reading this book cover-to-cover wouldn’t have that problem. The second time through, I caught a glimpse of Morgan’s plan, and by the time we get to the finishing parts of the story proper, I was grinning at his solution to the issue facing them, and ultimately had a good chuckle. It’s so very a Plexis solution to a Plexis problem, and Czerneda’s weaving of her story through all the other stories that came before it was a clever presentation.

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