The Sledgehammer Concerto is a most affecting story about three siblings — two brothers and a sister — who bond later in life as a result of the ugly horrors inflicted on them as children by their parents. Each of the three is possessed with talent and character that allow them to transcend the damage done to them but never to wholly shed the tragic element.
There are a number of themes that drift in and out of the realms of fantasy fiction, and these suggest that our everyday world reflects only but one quadrant of a much larger and more complete reality.
This is the third work of Francis Porretto’s fiction I’ve reviewed this year, and he is much more determined here to explore the further reaches of human experience. He looks at the sinister realm of black magic, then to the government’s dark and willful attack on liberty, then to the realm of bio-nanotechnology as it might traverse the complexities of human desire, then to a vision of the afterlife, but all of it turns on the great mystery and dignity of the human person.
The gravitational pull of truth is always present. Some of these speculative probes might concern darkness, but they are not in themselves dark because they are founded on what is good. And that is the overriding theme, that the desire for good corrects the shambles men have made of the world.