2012 – 24650
Sandkings, by George R.R. Martin
Sandkings is a short novel written by George R.R. Martin, and when it was said a few weeks ago that we could write a review about it, I decided to do it since it seemed nice to read something different from the author of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Sandkings is the story of Simon Kress, who has a fascination with collecting dangerous animals. After a long trip away from home, he found out that most of his animals died, and therefore needed new ones to replace them. In his search, he finds Jala Wo’s shop, who sells him some creatures called sandkings.
There were four colonies of sandkings, comprised of the maw, and the mobiles. The maw is the immobile queen of the colony, while the mobiles gather food, build defenses like castles of sand, and feed the maw. They grow to fill whatever environment they are put in, and will eat anything, Wo said, to make Kress sure that they would be easy to take care of.
At first, as the sandkings were constructing their sandcastles in their new container, Kress noticed that they didn’t fight, so he decided to limit their food so that they would fight over it. Soon, he’s having friends over to view the creatures fight each other, but one person, Cath, finds these battles as immoral.
When she tries to let the sandkings free from their terrarium with a sledgehammer, Kress accidentally kills her in trying to stop her. Cath however was able to free the sandkings just before she died. The colonies invade the whole house, and Kress has to hire special assassins, but they only managed to kill 2 colonies. One was still in the basement, and there was one they couldn’t find. Kress invites guests over to his house, and locks them in the basement to appease the creatures.
When Kress contacted Jala again, she said that it’s because of Kress’ actions that the sandkings are dangerous, and advises him to go far away, while she would take care of the remaining creatures. Kress runs away in panic, and after a day of running, he comes across a house. Thinking that he was finally safe, he comes closer, only to find out in horror that it was the castle of the missing colony of sandkings, as the mobiles finally drag him slowly to the maw.
The novel was really good for a short story, though the plot was kind of familiar. I guess the reason why it was made into an optional reading in class is because it can be related to science and technology and society. When Kress treated the creatures badly, they also became twisted and sinister. My take on the story is, like how science and technology is completely neutral, it is how society uses them that makes them good or bad.