The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Following the publication and positive critical reception of War for the Oaks (1987) and Falcon (1989), Bone Dance (subtitled A Fantasy for Technophiles) continues Emma Bull’s exploration of high-tech fantasies through tight, well-constructed plot and characterization. In it, she utilizes science-fictional technologies tempered with New Age spiritualism.

The story follows the adventures of Sparrow, a trader in “Big Bang” collectible videos and CDs, and her ultimate clash with the corrupt authorities who control the city. After a successful video sale to the city boss, Albrecht, Sparrow wakes up in an alley unable to remember the previous twenty-four hours. She goes to see Sherrea, her friend and a mystic tarot reader. Sherrea informs Sparrow of strange and cataclysmic events in the near future and her role in them but has no knowledge of Sparrow’s lost time.

Spurred on by the mystery, Sparrow is contacted by Mick Skinner, who claims to know about her missing memories. Pursued by two strangers Skinner is eager to avoid, they make it back to Sparrow’s apartment and warehouse. After Skinner’s strange and inexplicable death, Sparrow is kidnapped by the two strangers, who say they are city employees. Sparrow is told that Skinner was a Horseman, one of a group of mind-control soldiers who destroyed Earth in a nuclear war through jealous competition. Horsemen not only have the power of mind control but...

(The entire section is 438 words.)