Blank Faces by M.K. Hutchins

Artwork by Anna Repp

Artwork by Anna Repp

Published: May, 2012 in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show

Genre: weird Western

Length: 8 pages

Setting: out West during the gold rush

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Summary: The narrator is a down-on-his luck prospector. Since most of the establishments in town have snipers on the roof to keep out the shiftless and poor (and he’s a prime example of that category), it’s only in Miss Annie’s shop that he can come in from the rain. Miss Annie is always polite to him, even when he’s doesn’t return the favor. When she fixes him up after he gets shot stealing from her store, he still goes back to his old ways of panning for Indian bones for the clockwork mages and stealing whenever he can.

Final thoughts: The narrator is given a chance to reform and make a fresh start when Miss Annie nurses him back to health, but he doesn’t take that opportunity. That lead to my ultimate feeling of disappointment, although I’m not sure it was disappointment in the writing, or disappointment in the narrator. I did find the face-blindness to be an interesting side effect of panning for Indian bones (which were more valuable than gold).

Title comes from: The fact that none of the prospectors could see faces because of the curse of the Indian bones they were finding and selling.

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