Author: John C. Wright
Published in: The Book of Feasts & Seasons (Castalia House)
Slates: Rabid Puppies only
Synopsis: All the people have vanished from the planet. Various animals gather outside the gates of "the final city of Man" and try to figure out what happened. They eventually determine that the age of Man is over; those of the animals who take up the image and likeness of Man are given the same dominion over the world as Adam was given (in the book of Genesis), while those who refuse are made dumb beasts again.
My reactions: This is the first (and, thankfully, the shortest) of Wright's five nominated works, courtesy of the Rabid Puppies slate. The heavy-handed slathering of Christian imagery (and specifically what I presume is Roman Catholic imagery) makes it clearly a religious parable. None of the animals have any significant characterization, and there's almost nothing in the way of action. (A dragon does breathe fire near the end.) The concept of what happens with the Earth once all the people disappear is certainly worth exploring, but I can't for the life of me figure out how this one final city is supposed to evolve from our world (as shown by Horse namechecking Napoleon and Ford) and Wright doesn't bother showing how things got that way.
Even ignoring the misogyny (of which there is more than plenty), this is badly written, which bodes ill for Wright's other four nominations and for the rest of the entries from Vox Day's Castalia House. This is going way below No Award.
Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/192587.html - comment wherever you please.