Saturday, April 26, 2014
The Weight of the Sunrise, by Vylar Kaftan
The Weight of the Sunrise is the second story I've read by Vylar Kaftan, and since I seem to only have time for award nominees these days that means he's pretty good. I certainly enjoyed this one--it's a solid alternative history. What if the Incas had held off Pizarro's initial Conquistador attack (he only had 168 men), and figured out how to hold off smallpox through public health and hygiene measures? In this story, they would have been able to sort out how to hold on to their empire in the face of European imperialism. That makes for many changes in the Western world--the Americans come to visit in 1806 with a proposal to sell them the technique of vaccination. And so hangs the tale. We get a good exposition of Incan culture as Kaftan speculates it would develop. It's not a whitewash--it has plenty to say about the shortcomings of both Incan and American culture. Not quite in the spectacular category, but I was glad of the time spent reading it. I give it three stars.