The Parliament of Beasts and Birds is a philosophical/metaphorical/religious-whatever story with the hypothetical setting of post-judgment day animal discussions after God or whoever took humans from the Earth and put them into Heaven and Hell.
The animals discuss among themselves who should replace humans as masters. Or whether having masters at all is ok.
I found the story difficult to read. The author stuffed his prose with unusual, possibly anachronistic words the meaning of which I could not gather from context. I made a list: fane, ambergris, harlot, dell, corsair, smokestack, coney, roc, abattoir, cur, trow, ratiocination, jowl.
Getting such a long list of unknown vocab out of a single short story is quite unusual for me. I think this has not happened since I was 14 (when I tried to read Small Gods by Terry Pratchett in its original English version* and gave up because of all the unknown words). Nowadays, I read whole novels without ever looking up a word. Once in a while I come across a new word, but this is so rare… I don’t remember when it happened last.
Apart from the inaccessible vocabulary, the language is very flowery and I have the impression that John C Wright is trying very hard to write literary. I find this kind of annoying.
Concerning the story: I was not impressed. It seems to be a religious (christian) parable of some kind and, adding to the annoyance over the vocab, I have the distinct impression that JCW is showing off how smart he is. I bet there are a bunch of references that I do not get because of how dumb and uneducated I am and didn’t do my bible studies diligently enough. (Or ever ;-) ). So now everyone knows that JCW is able to actively use a lot of randgruppen** words, knows his christian mysticism and is so very educated.
As you can see, the story’s prose and style annoyed so much that I barely was able to follow the actual story. Can’t be much good then. I didn’t like it.
*I am German, live in Germany and only started to learn English in 5th grade.
**Am I not smart?