Tuesday, May 12, 2015

On a Spiritual Plain, by Lou Antonelli

http://louantonelli.blogspot.de/2015/03/on-spiritual-plain.html?m=1

This is one of the 2015 Hugo short story nominees, from the Sad Puppies slate. I'm not going to go into any detail about the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies slates, other than to say that those are in fact their own chosen names for themselves. Beyond that, if you want to know about the controversy, use Google.

The chaplain at a human base on a planet with native inhabitants is the narrator of this story. It's a planet that's geologically very active, with a powerful electromagnetic field, and the personalities of the Ymilan natives do not dissipate upon death. They stick around as Helpful Ancestors for a few generations. The chaplain discovers what happens next when the first human dies on the planet.

The prose is pedestrian. Our chaplain narrator is a nice young man, helpful and well-intentioned, but very bland. There's no real depth or detail to the culture and belief system of the Ymilans--and if this planet has more than one culture, nothing in this story hints at it.

It's not a terrible story. If I'd read it when I was twelve, I suspect I'd have found it exciting and mind-opening. I'm not twelve anymore, and there's nothing about this story that raises it to the level of "worthy Hugo nominee."