Monday, December 7, 2015

In Blue Lily's Wake, by Aliette De Bodard

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(SF; Xuya) Eleven years ago, the Blue-Lily plague devastated the Empire. Now Yen Oanh attends to unfinished business with a dead mind-ship and a living survivor.  (7,200 words; Time: 24m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Award-Worthy
Recommended By: NClarke

"In Blue Lily's Wake," by (edited by Jonathan Strahan), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: "Come. Let us face the King of Hell together."

This very emotional piece explores themes of grief, regret, and redemption. Thich Tim Nghe's regret is obvious: she blames herself for the deaths of passengers, crew, and mindship. Yen Oanh's is more subtle: she regrets failing to comfort a thirteen-year-old girl who triggered a sequence of events that resulted in a cure.

The story is more complex because Thich Tim Nghe knew what she was doing when she boarded the ship. Young though she was, she bears some real guilt. And even though her act inadvertently lead to a cure, does it make sense to credit her for that? Conversely, aren't eleven years long enough to torture oneself, given there was no true malice involved? Likewise, Yen Oanh has tortured herself for her own lack of compassion eleven years ago. So when Thich Tim Nghe sets the past aside and looks forward for the first time in eleven years, both find peace--or at least move on--and the story concludes naturally.

Con: The supernatural aspects of the plague detract from the story. The idea that the mind in the ship got the plague and so bruises appeared on the walls is really hard to credit. And you'd think that anything that could be vaccinated against wouldn't have taken so long for the biologists to isolate--especially given the scope of their technology.

Other Reviews: Search Web,
Aliette De Bodard Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Now online in Uncanny 22, May/Jun 2018:

    1. These are great! We'll add them to the database. Thanks!