Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

‘The Building’ by Ursula K Le Guin

with one comment

This is the sort of anthropological science fiction Le Guin is famous for and this is a particularly good example. Our unknown narrator sits outside the story reporting the evidence to us in a voice that is both scholarly and companionable:

I am not comfortable with the phrase “specific obsession,” but “cultural instinct” is worse.

That “obsession” is to build the Building, a gigantic ever-growing stone structure that is thousands of years old. There are no characters, just the warm, academic voice of the narrator half-explaining, half-tasting the culture. Excellent stuff.

Quality: ****
Shiftiness: ***

Again Sarrantonio uses the introduction as an opportunity to inform us that all he is really interested in is good storytelling and this is a virtue above all others for writers. He tells us nothing of the story itself. I am begining to think I should just skip these.

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Written by Martin

21 April 2009 at 10:49

Posted in sf, short stories

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. […] a comment » It is some sort of cruel joke putting this straight after Le Guin’s story and Sarrantonio manages to contribute his worst introduction yet: he slaps himself and Dan Simmons […]


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