Monday, December 5, 2016

"The Nature of a Pirate"

A.M. Dellamonica's books include Indigo Springs, which won the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, and Child of a Hidden Sea and A Daughter of No Nation of the Stormwrack series.

She applied the Page 69 Test to the third Stormwrack novel, The Nature of a Pirate, and reported the following:
On Page 69 of The Nature of a Pirate, Sophie Hansa sees her parents for the first time in months.

I refer to the Hidden Sea Tales books as "Narnia for environmentalists." On this particular page, its chapter's closer, Sophie returns to San Francisco after months on the magical world of Stormwrack.

This series is breaking a lot of portal fantasy rules. Traditionally, going home is the last thing that happens. You have a self-contained adventure in Oz, it ends, and you get to compartmentalize it into its pocket-dimension and return to home, hearth, and family. You have seen wonders, and you may even be the wiser for it... but your real life is here on Earth. Resuming it constitutes your happily ever after.

I think that was something that worked out pretty well in 20th-century stories. Ordinary people from our world visited secret magical realms; they took temporary vacations from their lives. What Sophie returns to, on page 69 of The Nature of a Pirate, is the news that her family home has been broken into twice, and in the course of investigating those B&E incidents, police have noticed that the Hansa family is missing a daughter.

We don't currently live in a world where compartmentalizing is easy, or it's a snap to vanish for weeks on end. Sophie's problem is complicated by the fact that her parents have no idea where she has been--even if they wanted to lie to police, they wouldn't know where to start. She can't let them know, you see, that she went looking for her birth parents. Besides, Stormwrack immigration laws require her to keep the existence of their world a secret from people in the U.S.

Which may be fair, except that it's almost certain that whoever busted into her parents home? Knows all about Stormwrack.

Most of this book takes place on the magical side of my novel's portal. This scene is a sojourn, a quick side-trip from Sophie's larger problems. Someone's sinking ships within the Fleet of Nations, for example, and a condemned human smuggler wants Sophie to save him from execution. But The Nature of a Pirate is, in part, the story of a person with a foot in two worlds, someone who may eventually have to commit to a future here, with all our technological marvels, or the faraway, inconsistent and sometimes devastating power of enchantment.
Visit A.M. Dellamonica's website.

The Page 69 Test: Child of a Hidden Sea.

My Book, The Movie: Child of a Hidden Sea.

The Page 69 Test: A Daughter of No Nation.

--Marshal Zeringue