ljgoldstein (ljgoldstein) wrote in theinferior4,

The Hugo Ballot, Part 9: Novelettes

I feel I should have more to say about this one.  Maybe fatigue is setting in -- maybe that's been the Puppies' plan all along.  Maybe they want to tire us out so that their alien lizard overlords can sneak past us annnnnn

Right, where was I?  In "Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium" by Gray Rinehart, humans have settled the planet Alluvium but were conquered by the alien Peshari shortly afterward.  They have fought back several times but failed each time, and oppression by the Peshari is growing worse.  Pesharis have myths of being buried under landslides or avalanches, and a man named Phil Keller thinks that the fear of this could be a cultural memory, the way the myth of the Flood might be for humans.  "It has become an engrained truth that you could sum up by saying, 'It is wrong to bury any person,'" Keller says.  And so he proposes to curse the land of Alluvium for the Peshari by having himself buried when he dies.

Well, but -- the story of the Flood doesn't work that way.  It didn't poison water for humans -- we swim in it and sail across it and under it all the time.  If some alien said to us, "We're going to bury our dead in the ocean -- so there," we'd say, "Fine, knock yourselves out."  It seems a very tenuous theory to hang an entire rebellion on, is what I'm saying.

"Ashes" is so slight, in fact, it could have been about half its size.  The first section, where Keller asks a Peshari artist to make him a tombstone and the artist refuses, might have been cut, and there are other unnecessary parts as well.  (The section gives us some important information about Keller and the Peshari, but that information could be presented in other ways.)  I actually like the idea of studying an enemy's myths in order to defeat them, but I don't think the story manages to use it to full advantage.
Tags: ashes to ashes, gray rinehart, hugo awards, sad puppies
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