Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kirinyaga, by Mike Resnick

Kirinyaga is a fine story, one I believe I have read before but was worth a reread.  It was a Hugo winner in 1989, and is the first story in the series by the same name.  Resnick has important lessons to teach in this story and series.  The protagonist through them all is Koriba, a mundumugu, or Kikuyu witch doctor.  He keeps the traditions of the Kikuyu in their home on an orbiting environment, preserving what was lost on Earth.  The opening story has trouble starting when their tradition of killing feet-first babies clashes with the sensibilities of Maintenance, who runs the ship. 

Koriba's point to them and to his tribe is that the Kikuyu traditions are a whole, and cannot be taken apart.  Give on one point, and they will become Kenyans.  So they won't give. 

But such traditional societies, as we know now, are brittle.  They might be hard, but the breaking is a shattering.  We are ready to relearn that lesson today.  3 stars.

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