Friday, May 19, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Short Story - "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies", by Brooke Bolander

"Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies", by Brooke Bolander is about a killer who picks the wrong victim.

Oh lord. This story not only connected with me, it hit me like a fiery bolt of pure anger and scorched into my heart. Despite my prude alert coming on immediately, not even the worst expletive could make me not love this story. In fact, I'm really curious why the language didn't bother me at all when reading this story, while I go back and read "The City Born Great" and cringe. In both cases, the language seems justified in respect to the subject matter. It's not out of place in either story. In fact, the language is sillier here considering what sort of being is using it. I honestly cannot figure myself out some days.

The good: The second paragraph, in which the narrator laments that the killers get their story told while the victims are buried and forgotten really hit a nerve with me. I have long thought that society glorifies killers, while their victims are "convenient narrative rungs for villains to climb". Yes. This is Truth. And yet, within those two paragraphs we get all we need to know about the killer. The bulleted list of how the narrator responded was an interesting and stark way to get the story across that really resonated with me for some reason. The language in the last two points made my heart sing. This is, at it's heart, a story about revenge and the bad guy getting what he deserves. And sometimes we need that kind of story.

The bad: I really don't get the 1967 Mercury Cougar reference.

Conclusion: I was complaining that I couldn't connect with the Wong story, but this one I almost feel like I connected to a bit too much. I may have to take a step back from myself and think about it. However, at the moment this one is tied for first place on my ballot.

Best Short Story: I've read "That Game We Played During the War", "The City Born Great", "A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers", and "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies". I need to read "Seasons of Glass and Iron". I do not plan on reading the sixth finalist.