Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Breath of War, by Aliette de Bodard

The Breath of War is the first of the Nebula short story nominees I'm reading this year.  And it's a pretty good start to the year's crop.

Our protagonist, Rechan, is pregnant and near term.  On this planet, Voc, humans need the help of a Stoneman to quicken their children.  The Stonemen (not necessarily men) are the creation of the women who wish to have children--at puberty they make one out of a special stone and give it their breath.  From that point on the Stoneman accompanies the woman as a companion and is available to quicken her children.

But Rechan is in a peculiar situation.  Her Stoneman is not with her.  But she has decided to get pregnant anyway, and must now go track down the Stoneman she created under mysterious circumstances.

This is my favorite story of de Bodard's so far--very coherent narrative, with interesting characters.  Her strength has always been bringing a unique combination of cultural backgrounds to her storytelling, but in this case it's a good plot also.  It ties in well with some of her other work that envisions interstellar ships as living beings.  A good read - 3 stars.

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