Monday, December 14, 2015

The Baby Eaters, by Ian McHugh

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(SF) The narrator visits an alien world to negotiate a trade deal with a race of alien predators who have a bad reputation. (4,247 words; Time: 14m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average
Recommended By: GDozois:5 RHorton:4

"The Baby Eaters," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 01|16, published on by .

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

Pro: The aliens themselves are well-described, and their predator nature explains a lot of the differences between them and us. The narrators problems arising from cultural and linguistic missteps seem very plausible, as do the negative reactions of Pathkemy, who can't accept the idea that those mistakes were unintentional.

The story certainly has a start and end, even if it ends in the failure of the narrator's plans.

Con: There's a whole lot of extra information in the story that never gets used for anything. For example, we learn a lot about local challenges that are likely to result in a civil war, but nothing is done with that. It's also a little hard to believe that Meychezhek studied offworld and yet still practices infanticide at a time when many of her people no longer do so.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 01|16)
Ian McHugh Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Now online in Clarkesworld 139, Apr 2018:

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