The Broken Cage
|Title:||The Broken Cage|
|Medium:||print zine, fanfic|
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Original Content Was Not "The Sentinel"
This zine, by this author, began as something else entirely.From a July 1993 ad in GAZ:
HELP! If you are an artist and can draw such characters as Harrison Ford, River Phoenix, Lou Diamond Phillips, Rodney Grant, Uhoopi Goldberg, Tempestt Blesoe, Roddy McDowell, and/or Arabian nights type backgrounds, we need you to help illustrate THE BROKEN CAGE, an original sf/fantasy slash romance by Mirenna, Send us you name, address, and if possible a sample of your work. If you are a fan with a photo collection, we need you to lend photos for our artists to draw from. Send us your name, address, and a brief description of items you are willing to lend in return for a contributor's copy. If you are a brilliant and talented story editor, we need you to help with finishing and polishing. Send us your name, address and qualifications. Finally, if you are a fan who might like to read this novel, and. would like notification when it is published, send a SASE labled "Cage" to UZI Press.
Through a miscommunication, vacationer Jim Ellison, new to the planet, accidentally kills the master of a slave, thus, to the slave's way of thinking, inheriting said slave. But Jim doesn't want a slave. The very idea is abhorrent to him. Yet he needs to find a way back to the spaceport so he can leave this insane world, and the slave seems to be the only source of information available. Reluctantly, Ellison agrees to a temporary alliance, but the slave has other ideas... 
Reactions and Reviews
I wanted to say that I found The Broken Cage to be magical and utterly charming. The descriptions were rich, allowing me to feel a part of an alien world and culture -- and the culture of the desert was well defined with both its hardships, lawlessness and an odd kind of security.
Writing this story from Blair's POV was inspired (and what a lovely way to give him his name). His confusion, his experiences (both as a slave and knowing the culture, and as someone experiencing radically new people and places), his misgivings and hopes all illuminated this story. It must have been tempting to occasionally flip to Jim's POV, but the author, Mirenna, conveyed his thoughts, beliefs, emotions and his own confusion in a strange land exceedingly well through Blair's eyes.It was altogether such a beautiful saga that I found myself wishing there was more, as I'd like to explore Blair's new world with him -- and learn how Jim managed to take him to the stars, as promised, perhaps beyond our solar system. Blair's 'magic' and Jim's senses make a powerful combination. Interestingly enough, I'd never heard of him having pyrotechnic power before, but I've given it to him in a story I posted some months ago, "Bitterwood Creek." In this, he accesses his 'shaman' powers, and will use the fire making power even more in the sequel that's almost finished, "Oak Creek Canyon." So, I read about his magic in this story with interest and a sense of 'rightness'. 
This story is magic. Not just because it deals with real magic on an outworldly planet where a freaked out cop from Cascade is sent to get his brains back in order. He's not very successful at that point though, being robbed and left in the red desert to either starve to death or be picked up by slave-traders. Just before he gets too weak to defend himself a not very noble nobleman with his slave stops at the small, barren oasis. A short while and a desperate fight later, Jim, the cop, finds help in a nameless slave who slowly, cautiously blossoms into an intelligent, curious and loving man as soon as his silver collar is taken from his neck and he realizes gradually that he has a choice now. Follow Mirenna's vision of a beautiful planet with strange customs and cruelty against slaves who are considered less than animals. As the novel unfolds, learn how a little trust and a bit of love go a long way until they finally cite the spark of a revolution, just like a very special slave is able to ignite fire with his thoughts. The story itself is written in first person. The "nameless slave" is narrating, telling about his life with an earthling in stunning details, the melody of his tale never faltering. What amazed me most is that even in the very beginning, Jim's and Blair's characterizations are very accurate, even though the feel, the "music" of the story is very different indeed from your usual crime-story.