Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Rings, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

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(SF Horror) Aris wanted a male slave from off-planet, and she thinks Firen is a fine choice. Young, strong, flawed only because he can’t speak. (6,227 words; Time: 20m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"Rings," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 05-06|17, published on by .

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

Pro: The author makes her world very real. Even the ancient AI that bound the two together and simultaneously fixed his speech problem fits nicely into the framework.

We gather that even if his company does rescue him, Firen will leave her with what she really wants: a daughter.

Con: The story ends without resolution. Is Firen going to escape? Did that bond really mean anything?

If a daughter was her real objective, a sperm donation would have been a lot cheaper and much less trouble.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Story is well above 'average'. However, there is another Con, namely that she is said to have killed someone but this is not explained

    1. "Average" is what the software generates by default. Sometimes it would be better to say something like "ambitious but flawed," or "Cool in lots of ways but has too many problems to recommend" but I don't usually do antyhing like that.

      This was definitely a story I thought about a lot. Ultimately I decided I just couldn't recommend a story that had no clear ending. But I agree that "average" is a bad description in this case. Do you have a proposal?

  2. Story is interesting, but leaves a lot of questions. What exactly is the ring year? I gathered it was practice being master and slave with another woman. How did she fail spectacularly? Did she inadvertently kill Malia?

    I think she wanted more than a daughter. She thinks about how she hasn't been able to let down her walls with anyone since Malia, and she hopes it will be different with a man. So it seems she wanted to be close to someone again, and not just to procreate.