Monday, July 30, 2007

A great story in Strange Horizons

I've just read a great story--not this week's offering, but last week's, which I didn't get to until today: "Limits" by Donna Gee Williams. (Not saying that this week's story isn't great as well--I have haven't read it yet.) Partly this appeals to me because I have a bias toward anything that present a world completely different from the one we live in, especially if that world exaggerates something that exists here--an entire world in a castle, for example, an entire world that's a factory of mind-boggling size, an entire world that's a tree or a grove of a few trees. And then that shows, without over-explaining, how it is to live in that world.

So the world imagined here is steep, almost a cliff-side it seems. Most of the people who live here stay close to their home village, though as adolescents they explore up and down until they discover the limits of what their own personalities or psyches allow them to travel.

In a number of ways it reminds me of the story that was my favorite a couple of years ago when I read through two of the Writers of the Future anthologies to get a sense of what they like--the story was "Needle Child" by M. T. Reitan, which took place in a world of implausibly large hedges. A great story that I certainly recommend. That, however, was a story of a single event in the life of one person living in the hedges. This is more about an entire life as the point of view character (for most of the story) watches her son grow up, seemingly without ever discovering any limits to how far he's able to travel. And being about an entire life, it manages to be about life in general for everyone, even those who don't live on the side of cliff world above an impossibly distant ocean.

Go read it!

2 comments:

Beth said...

I really liked that one! At the beginning I was a bit disoriented. (Thought they lived in very tall trees. Yeah -when I figured it out, it all made a lot more sense...)

Daniel Ausema said...

Glad you liked it too! I can see that it might be a bit disorienting at first, but I'm fine with disorienting as long as it's also intriguing =)