And then there are the stories which seem as though they should strike some chord, but don’t, and instead just lie there, inert, unwilling to co-operate. This is one such. The narrator — Interzone does seem fonder of the first person than any other sf short fiction venue I can think of — is an artist in an alternate (?) Renaissance-ish (?) Europe. He is captured by pirates, taken to their home base, and ends up painting their church:
I showed the storm that blew up. I scraped lines in the wall, jagged and terrible, creating a violence that could not be withstood. I showed the fishermen afraid in their little boat, men who knew the sea too well to pretend that they could be saved.
So there is Stuff about Art, and Stuff about Religion, and Stuff about Story, and the lightest breath of the fantastic, and Robertson even finds room for some Stuff about his narrator (fear not!). It’s on the self-concious side (I don’t really believe for a second that the voice is authentic, in the sense of really being how this sort of person would narrate this situation), but I’ve enjoyed my share of this sort of thing; just not this share of it, it seems.