Thursday, February 13, 2020

Generation Gap, by Thoraiya Dyer

★★★★★ Unexpectedly Powerful

(Alien SF) Young Wipwai’s tribe has always fought their neighbors, but she’s secretly made friends with one of them, and they plot a future of peace. (9,996 words; Time: 33m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 161, published on .

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

Review: 2020.083 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is the story of how, as children, Wipwai and Fe a dream of bringing peace to their warring families and what happens as a result.

From the start, we know that these folks are relatively primitive for their kind. Elsewhere there’s a city where things are not so resource-limited and people can have more than one child per family. Arguably, one thread of the story is the government’s attempts to achieve the same thing young Wipwai and Fe a dreamed of: peace in their territory.

Wipwai’s choices are severely limited because the old Tower is so single-minded and the old Worker is so brutal. When she becomes Tower, she can only trust Ancient; the others who should have supported her only hold her in contempt. They have their own agenda, and it’s not hers.

But the land itself is failing them. More and more it looks as though they really do have no future. Either they need to destroy the other tribe or else join it somehow.

Fe a puts her childish dreams aside, for the most part, although she remains fond of Wipwai and even trusts her enough to bring her people’s Child to her. When the Child dies in an accident (partly but not entirely Wipwai’s fault), it ironically resolves the problem. The government liquidates Wipwai’s tribe and gives their Child to Fe a’s people. Note that this wouldn’t have been possible without the relationship that already existed between Wipwai and Fe a.

What’s remarkable about this story is that even though it ends with defeat for the protagonist, it’s clear that the outcome (a single family controlling both territories) is probably the best that could be expected, and Fe a’s tribe is far better suited to be the surviving one.

Just as remarkable, despite the long time span of the story, there’s plenty of tension and excitement in it, particularly towards the end.

Finally, this is the rare imaginary-toads-in-imaginary-gardens story that actually works. Quite an accomplishment!

Con: The story gets off to a slow start. The reader needs a good bit of patience before it becomes compelling.

Other Reviews: Search Web
Thoraiya Dyer Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

Follow RSR on Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or E-mail.

No comments (may contain spoilers):

Post a Comment (comment policy)