One For The Morning Glory

Posted by : atcampbell | On : June 17, 1997

One For The Morning Glory by John Barnes

Attendees: A. T. Campbell, III; Fred Duarte; Cyndi Dunn; Wes Dunn; Debbie Hodgkinson; Jeff Rupley; Willie Siros; Lori Wolf .

We assembled at Adventures in Crime and Space to discuss One For the Morning Glory, a fantasy novel by John Barnes. The book is a charming tale about a young prince whose left side disappeared due to a magical incident that occurred when he was a baby. Despite this apparent handicap, the prince goes on all sorts of adventures with exceptional companions. The characters in the book are very aware that they’re in a story, but they’re not sure what type of story or which of them is supposed to be the hero.

We all finished the book (a rarity for our group), and most people liked the book quite a lot. Several people liked the meta-fantasy aspects of the story, and Willie Siros commented that “as in all fantasy novels, the prince is only half there.” Cyndi Dunn liked the book’s prose style, in which exotic-sounding words were misused for comic effect (“eating protons and similes for breakfast”). Wes Dunn felt that the story was more of a fable than a fantasy, and that the book was appropriate for either adults or children. A. T. Campbell and Elaine Powell both liked the book’s ideas, but felt the storytelling dragged in the middle. Jeff Rupley liked some aspects of the book, but overall felt that it was “a pale copy of The Princess Bride“.

Although Barnes had previously written several science fiction and men’s adventure novels, One For the Morning Glory was his first fantasy. Most people in the group weren’t surprised to learn this. As Cyndi Dunn put it, “It’s the fantasy novel I’d expect someone who doesn’t write fantasy to write.”

We had so much fun discussing this book that Willie had to keep his store open late. We appreciate his hospitality.

— A. T. Campbell, III