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Children Of Rhatlan
Jonathan Fesmire
280 pages

Children Of Rhatlan
Jonathan Fesmire
Jonathan Fesmire lives in sunny California, near the beach, but ironically prefers dusk to midday and cool weather to hot. He enjoys writing, art, and spending time with his family. He also enjoys traveling -- he has been to France, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Canada, and Poland -- and sometimes combines his love of travel with his love of speculative fiction by attending conventions. His fiction has been published in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine and elsewhere.

"Sometimes people ask me how I came up with the concept of duals," says Fesmire, "and the truth is, I don't know exactly. I had an idea for a story and wondered what it would be like if the two main characters were joined. That thought popped out of nowhere, though I think I was sort of set up for it. Twins run in my father's side of the family, my rising sign is Gemini... well, make your own conclusions. I think the cosmic energy was just there."

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Seeds Of Vision

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

New concepts are a rare thing in fantasy literature. Settings are created. Characters are wrought from legend or from thin air. New mythologies are conjured up. Genuine inventions, though, are a unique treat. Fesmire's duals is definitely one of those inventions. And all of the previous short stories, and now this full-length novel are certainly a treat.

Vayin and Garum are the closest of twins. Born duals, they are a brother and sister who exist inside one body, allowing only one of them to surface at any given time. Vayin's female form can only exist when Garum "switches" and his male body vanishes. They remain in constant contact in the internal space their thoughts share. It's not the ideal situation, but it would be bearable if only so-called normal people didn't fear and hate the mysterious duals.

Does that explain the phenomenon? Probably not. But, you don't really want me to tell you about it when Fesmire is there to do it so much more eloquently. Instead, read Children Of Rhatlan and you will understand. And you too will find the duals fascinating and intriguing.

The twins want nothing more than a bit of adventure to spice up their overly protective lives on the family farm. They are aching to see the world outside the strict discipline they've grown up with. In the closest town, they find excitement and more trouble than they ever imagined. Finding and keeping love, safety, and peace are difficult to find and keep in a time when most of the citizenry is scrambling just to survive. Sadly, for duals it appears to be impossible.

Garum and Vayin have a long and dangerous journey ahead of them to find any of these comforts. Dealing with their dualism is crucial to every step of that journey. The way in which Fesmire deals with the intimate aspects of their situation is a struggle of its own to watch. (Anyone who is aware of the existence of conjoined twins has wondered about such delicate matters as twins' sexual activity. If someone tries to convince you they haven't, they are probably just too embarrassed to admit to it.) Fesmire manages his own solution with practicality and just a bit of bawdiness.

Magic, treachery, valour, prejudice -- Fesmire builds a world sword-and-sorcery fans will welcome and adventure fans will want to explore fully. Something tells me Children Of Rhatlan may be just the first of a long and popular series. With an imagination as fertile as Fesmire's, a return appearance of the twins sounds like a smashing idea.

Copyright © 2001 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, will be published in early 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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