Birthday Reviews: Tanya Huff’s “Finding Marcus”

Birthday Reviews: Tanya Huff’s “Finding Marcus”


Tanya Huff was born on September 26, 1957.

Huff has won the Aurora Award twice. Her first Aurora was in 1988 for her short story “And Who Is Joah?.” She won the second in 2013 for the novel The Silvered. Huff has also been nominated for several Gaylactic Spectrum Awards as well as the William L. Crawford – IAFA Fantasy Award, the Sapphire Award, and the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award.

“Finding Marcus” was written for the anthology Sirius: The Dog Star, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Alexander Potter in 2004. The story was reprinted in 2007 in Huff’s collection Finding Magic and again in 2013 in the collection He Said, Sidhe Said & Other Tales.

Reuben is a dog in in “Finding Marcus.” As the title implies, he is attempted to find his master, Marcus, from whom he has become separated. Their separation is not a normal one, for several reasons. Marcus had been working on a project to find Gates between dimensions and when he was eventually successful, he brought Reuben with him. Unfortunately,  Marcus learned that the Gates are only one way and they would have to find and pass through several Gates before returning to their own world.

In their passage through the Gates, Reuben managed to acquire the ability to understand human speech, and speak as well, although whether he can speak to Marcus is left ambiguous. The worlds they pass through are a mixture of hi-tech, low-tech, and mid-tech, with our own timeline apparently considered mid-tech. The two became separated when they appeared in a low-tech marketplace and Marcus was accused of being a demon. In trying to escape, Marcus and Reuben learned that in order for a Gate to deposit them in the same location, the two had to be touching, leading to Reuben’s quest.

As Reuben focuses his quest on finding each Gate to take him to the next world and eventually Marcus, which Reuben knows will be the eventual outcome, Huff explores the pitfalls of being a dog alone in the world. The danger posed by people, either well-meaning or not, the hunt for food, the avoidance of traffic, and the seeming ever-presence of cats. Although Reuben is happy to be searching alone, he winds up connecting with a crow, Dark Dawn With Thunder, who can also speak and wants to hear Reuben’s story. Even as Reuben tries to push Dawn away, the crow insists on helping him find the next Gate, offering him advice and warnings from her position in the sky and forging a bond with Reuben that he refuses to acknowledge, just as he refuses to accept Dawn’s pessimistic view of the ultimate success of his quest.

Reprint reviewed in the collection Finding Magic, by Tanya Huff, ISFiC Press, 2007.

Steven H Silver-largeSteven H Silver is a sixteen-time Hugo Award nominee and was the publisher of the Hugo-nominated fanzine Argentus as well as the editor and publisher of ISFiC Press for 8 years. He has also edited books for DAW and NESFA Press. He began publishing short fiction in 2008 and his most recently published story is “Webinar: Web Sites” in The Tangled Web. Steven has chaired the first Midwest Construction, Windycon three times, and the SFWA Nebula Conference 6 times, as well as serving as the Event Coordinator for SFWA. He was programming chair for Chicon 2000 and Vice Chair of Chicon 7. He has been the news editor for SF Site since 2002.

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