Hugo Nominee Review: Amaryllis by Carrie Vaughn

As I have been reading the Hugos this year the announcement of the award nominees is more interesting to me than normal and I decided to begin to read some of them. I am starting, alphabetically, with the short stories which are all available online means that Amaryllis by Carrie Vaughn is first.

Science fiction can generally bet fit into a pretty simple mold. It is written by men, about technological advances that will change the world and may, or may not, include aliens or telepathy. This is odd for a genre which at its heart is about exploring new and interesting ideas. That is why stories like Amaryllis by Carrie Vaughn is so valuable because while it doesn’t really fit any of the molds it is a good story about a world that is not ours.

Set in a future after some type of major disaster which isn’t really explained the world is clearly a far more regulated place. People are controlled by the authority even in how much food they can catch and the ability to have children. Yet this isn’t really a dystopian story in the traditional sense because the story isn’t about changing that or even exploring it. Instead it is about a sort of family. Made up of the crew of a fishing boat who need to increase the ration because one of the crewmembers would like to have a child.

This allows for an examination of the people in the story far closer than the traditional science fiction story and makes for a world that feels as if more is going on while keeping I short enough that the general lack of a strong plot doesn’t harm the story at all. Well written, with engaging characters this is well worth reading if you like character stories in your science fiction.  

You can read Amaryllis at Lightspeed Magazine and I recommend you do.