Noble Mold by Kage Baker

18586183Source: Own collection
Format: Hardback
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I read this as part of The Time Traveller’s Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.

This was an interesting story. It is about two immortals in western America before the Yankees arrive. One is posing as a padre at the local Roman Catholic church, while the other has been based in the mountains roundabout. She, Mendoza, receives a new assignment: to sample all the grape vines growing in the area.

What ensues is a debacle over a grape vine that ends in the immortals deceiving a local Indian family in order to get what they want. This attitude towards present-time locals by immortals or time travellers appears to be prevalent among this type of science fiction story: what matters is the goal of the visitor, not the local. More often than not, at least.

The story is very well written, with vivid imagery of the setting and characters. I cannot say that I enjoyed reading it, but I did appreciate that Father Joseph at least considered the feelings and sensibilities of the locals and tried to do things without going against their worldview and superstition. Mendoza? Not so much. She was clearly far more intent on gaining her prize so that she could reap the benefits of it.

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