REVIEW: “Hunting the Blue Rim” by R. L. Martinez

Review of R. L. Martinez, “Hunting the Blue Rim”, Luna Station Quarterly 31: Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

The story opens with quite a bit of scene and history setting: We are told much about the geography, and about physical aspects of Spur herself, but what is most interesting are the references to “What Came Before”. It is clear that this is intended to be what we are familiar with today in our ordinary world and lives — oceans, cities, etc. — but what is intriguing is the question that is left unanswered at the start: Before what?

This question is never answered.

There are other aspects of the logic of the story that I find perplexing. “Hunting was not a sport or game,” we are told, but when Spur kills her first quarry, she does so to obtain favor from the Green Lady, not from any need. Though she eats the heart and the liver, she then leaves the rest to be despoiled. As we are told her purpose in searching for her true quarry, we find it is not for any bodily need but a social one — unless she kills her quarry on this, her third attempt, Spur will “spend her life in perpetual childhood and servitude while her magic remained asleep and caged until it shriveled and died inside her”. It is hard to see how this doesn’t make the hunting a game or sport, albeit one with important social consequences; even with these, it is still a game to be played, to be won or lost.

In the end, I felt like I was never quite as invested in Spur and her hunt as I should have been; nor was there any final twist at the end to surprise me in the climax. It was a solid story, but not sparkling.