Posts tagged george R.R. martin
Short Story Review: The Sandkings by George R.R. Martin
One of the creepiest and yet most interesting science fiction stories I have ever read is "The Sandkings" by George R. R. Martin. This is the story of Kress a man who loves exotic pets but finally finds some that are just a little to exotic for him. The story begins with Kress going on a vacation. When he returns most of his pets have died of starvation. He is not really all that worried about their deaths as he thinks of them far more as entertainment than pets but he does want something new, something more exotic. He visits the pet stores he has in the past but there is nothing good enough for him or he has owned that type before but on his way back he discovers a new store that sells lifeforms. And is shown the Sandkings. Sandkings are small insect like creatures, though they aren’t insects. They build castles in the sand and war with each other. They are partially physic forming a hive mind and if you project your face into their aquarium they will even worship you building your face into their castles. Kress is primarily interested in the wars, but they don't come fast enough so he begins to starve the creatures so they will war over the small scraps of food he gives them on the nights when he invites people over to watch the wars. The man who sells him the creatures warns him that this is a bad idea and that they will fight better if given plenty of food but Kress doesn’t care. Eventually they grow bored of the sandkings wars with each other and begin to put other animals into their aquarium to see which will win. Each time some of the sandkings are killed but they come out victorious. There is little doubt that by the end Kress will be destroyed by his own creatures but knowing that doesn’t lessen the impact of the story . Each of the characters in this story is well developed and even the four races of sandking that war with each other have their own personality, from the whites that eventually go insane due to the stabbing of their Maw(queen) to the orange who are never as strong as the others . Then there is Kress, a great villain who never sees what he is doing as wrong. They are after all his pets and if he wants them to fight for him he has ever right. I'm not sure if the moral of this story is that you should treat your pets well or if this is simply an examination of a strange alien creature but either way the story has stuck with me far longer than many other short stories and is well worth reading. Check it out here
Read More