Monday, December 19, 2011

The Cost To Be Wise, by Maureen McHugh

The Cost To Be Wise is the third story in McHugh's Mothers and Other Monsters collection to be nominated for an award, this one getting Hugo and Nebula nominations in 1996-97.  The story is told through the protagonist--Janna appears to be part of a social experiment, a group of people not related through clan kinship on a world mostly made up of clans.  People from Earth came out to try to make this community function differently from the others.  Alas, they forgot the defense part--the colony gets torn up by nasty drunks from the neighboring clan.  A visitor from Earth sees the whole thing. 

One definitely gets a sense of the emotions McHugh is trying to convey--the sadness and fear--but, well, I don't know, it's just lacking for me.  No point.  Violence doesn't always have a point, and in this story it doesn't, but it seems to me that stories should have points. Why tell it, otherwise?  A question I cannot answer here.  Two stars.

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