Monday, December 12, 2011
Nekropolis, by Maureen McHugh
Nekropolis was nominated for a Nebula in 1994. The setting is a future Middle East, where there has been some sort of second coming of Mohammed that produced a Second Koran, one that specifically allows for a form of slavery called "jessing", like a captured hawk. This is central to the story, as is an artificial being called Akhmim. The protagonist is Diyet, a rather colorless jessed serving girl. What we get is the story of her life in this setting, which is altogether pretty ordinary and told that way. On purpose. It seems to me that McHugh was trying for the genuine voice of someone in this situation, not too bright or pretty, trying to sort out her feelings. I don't know, it didn't quite work for me, it just came off dull. The settings aren't particularly outlandish or even well-explained. The full meaning of living in crypts (the Nekropolis) was not really explored. She was just from there. Just 2 stars for this one.