Monday, May 15, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Short Story - "That Game We Played During the War", by Carrie Vaughn

"That Game We Played During the War", by Carrie Vaughn is about two people from very different societies who connect over chess.

A minor annoyance with Tor and the way they present their stories. There's always a summary of the story before the story starts, which I find annoying. I try not to read it, but I often accidentally have it half-read before I realize what I'm doing, and sometimes it spoils the story for me. Stop it, Tor!

The good: How do you play chess against someone who can read your mind? The answer is so obvious and yet so impressive. I love how one of the people who comes to watch the game seems to realize that the same sort of strategy was also used during the war - because how do you fight a war against people who can read every thought of every captured soldier? The backstory is filled in beautifully, each piece of the puzzle coming together to show the full picture of the war and what these two main characters did during it.

The bad: Was there any? This felt like a perfect package to me. Perhaps it could have used more on what it's like to live in a society where everyone knows what everyone else is thinking, but honestly, I think it did a fine job with that.

Conclusion: I really love this tale. It's simple and beautiful and raises a lot of questions that are worth pondering. At the moment it's at the top of my list, but that may change with reads and rereads, as always.

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