Children of the Cave by Virve Sammalkorpi

Children of the Cave

Virve Sammalkorpi

A demanding experience- requiring you both to suspend disbelief of genetic mutations, and to give credence to a pseudo-distressed scientific journal. You are left wondering if the dramatic breakdown in trust between narrator Agolasky and expedition leader Moltique could have been recreated more effectively by a more conventional style.

Extract

Yves is in a bad way and we have hidden him from the other men. He is agitated and given to convulsions. He suffers from headache and fever, and throws up everything he eats. Rufin shakes his head, red in the face and sweating, because, despite everything, he is a real doctor at heart and feels powerless confronted by an illness that will inevitably lead to death. He has managed to convince Moltique that it is an infection caused by the bite of a sick animal, not a curse or magic. I have in the past admired the professor's open-mindedness in the face of the unknown, but now it seems more like an obsession.
Last night, I dreamed that my father and Moltique were discussing the ancient gods. Moltique claimed that he had been married to Pallas Athene herself, and when my father did not believe him, he bit my father and changed him into a pig. Even as a pig, my father remained serenely gentle. He asked Moltique to leave his study so he could read in peace. If I miss anything in this godforsaken forest, here among lunatics and criminals, it is faith in the permanence of things.

Parallels
  • Stories of your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
  • What Became of the White Savage by Francois Garde
  • The Vorrh by Brian Catling