Monday, December 17, 2012

Embracing-the-New, by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Embracing-the-New is a fine story by Benjamin Rosenbaum that got a Nebula nomination for Best Short Story in 2004. I highly recommend it as a great example of what speculative fiction does uniquely well--take an idea outside of our normal experience (technology, magic, or in this case biology) and apply it to a universal truth or value to explain it in a new way.

Our protagonist, Vru, is a lowly apprentice God-carver--in training to be able to copy the icons that embody powerful ideas for his species.  The memory for this species is carried in Ghennungs, parasitic beasts that can transport memories or skills from one person to another. Vru's master is an accomplished God-carver, who has even created new gods.  And he selects lowly Vru, rather than any of his journeymen, to create the next one.  Vru does so, putting all of himself into it.  What happens from there forms the point of the story, so I will let you read it.  But go ahead and do so, especially if you want to know how good speculative fiction is constructed.  This is as clear as it gets.  Four stars.

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