William Preston. Unearthed. (Asimovs September 2012)

asimovs1209Another excellent piece of adventure writing with a retro-vibe to it. It starts off classilly :

“It was in 1925, in a teardrop of land no map remembers, a land absorbed decades ago by other countries pressing from every side. I had come for work, a young woman sent by a man I met only once to tell the story of a people whose language I couldn’t speak.”

The narrator is a young woman of native American descent, and we see her view on the indigenous tribespeople she is observing through that lens. When there is a dramatic roof-fall in a mine, the miners are dragged out – not physically damaged, but each a gibbering wreck. There’s clearly something strange, very strange underneath their feet.

Thus arrives the son of the mine owner, known only as Little Boss, a man of many strengths and skills, and what follows is a touch of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger, H Rider Haggard and H P Lovercraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, as the young woman and the Little Boss have to dig deep to solve the problem and ensure that threat from both below the ground and from neighbours, is averted.

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