Aliette de Bodard’s ‘‘The Weight of a Blessing’’ (Clarkesworld, March) tells of a mother’s last visits with her daughter, who is being exiled. The point of the story is the slow revelation of the reason for this exile. The mother is a refugee from a planet torn by civil war. Her culture was trampled, in essence, and she’s made a life on her new planet, married and divorced a local man, tried to fit in. But her daughter has rejected all this and embraced a culture she never knew, and has protested the way the dominant culture of her new planet has, in essence, rewritten history. All this reads to me as a fairly straightforward allegory of Vietnam/US relations, post war. It’s well done and challenging, but despite the offworld setting and some technology that allows speaking with a version of dead ancestors, I wasn’t excited, science-fictionally. Still, one can’t deny its engagement with important contemporary issues.
Uh. Interesting. I didn’t see the main point of the story being the revelation of the reason for the exile (which is pretty self-evident about halfway through, I think? For me, it’s quintessentially a story about ancestors and memory and what memories mean and how they’re passed on), but I suppose everyone takes something different away from a story 🙂