Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Deep, by Rivers Solomon

Gallery/Saga Press, ISBN 9781534439863, November 2019

The wajinru are the descendants of pregnant women thrown overboard from slave ships. The women drowned, but the babies survived--transformed into beings with gills and fins, able to breathe both in the air, and in the water. Mostly, tehey prefer to stick to the deeper waters.

They make certain other choices. Their history is painful, not just their origins but other episodes in it as well. To maintain peace and amity within their community, they intentionally forget their own history, even their own personal history beyond a few months. That history is absorbed by the Historian, the only one of their number who remembers everything, their entire history.

The Historian for this generation is Yetu. She's been the Historian for twenty years, since she was fourteen, and she's hated it from the beginning. She's of a much more sensitive temperament than her immediate predecessor, and perhaps most previous Historians. She hates sharing all the pain of the wajinru history, and she is free of it for only a few days every year, during the Remembrance, when she transfers those memories to all the other wajinru. And this year, she has had enough, and flees while her people are completely absorbed in their history.
While Yetu struggles to learn to be herself, and, injured and washed up on land, is befriended and helped by a few "two-legs," the wajinru are struggling with the memories of their history for much longer than normal, and in their struggles, are generating a storm.

A very bad storm, one that will threaten many of the two-legs, 
And Yetu is, despite the freedom of not carrying the History in her mind, is starting to miss her own people. Yet she doesn't want to die, as she had come to believe she would if not free from the History.

As she sees a terrible hurricane building, she's confronted with the terrible decision of whether to keep her freedom, or save her people and the two-legs.

It's an interesting world, and I really felt a lot of connection with Yetu, and the failure of everyone she cared about and who cared about her to understand why carrying the History was so hard for her. It's engrossing and satisfying.


I received this story as part of the Hugo Voters packet, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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