Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011 Hugo Nominee: Short Story - "Amaryllis" by Carrie Vaughn (Lightspeed, June 2010)

I'm still on a work project in Kentucky, but I have an okay wireless connection, so let's see if we can get through some short short story reviews this week.

First up: Carrie Vaughn's story takes us to a world after environmental collapse in which reproduction and resource harvesting are both carefully managed. The narrator, Marie, captains a fishing boat called the Amaryllis and lives communally with her crew. A young member of the crew named Nina would like to have a baby, but the discrimination the crew faces due to Marie's own origins means that they're unlikely to ever get such permission. It's a solid depiction of a future recovering from plausible ecological scarcity, sort of a pricklier Pacific Edge, though it doesn't offer much unique other than the fishing boat setting. That depiction of labor is nicely rendered though, and the character relationships are sweet. There wasn't really much here to grab me though. This story is thoroughly pleasant, and I mean that as a compliment...but "pleasant" isn't necessarily enough to win a Hugo.

Grade: B-

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