Everything Is Nice

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

‘Auspicious Eggs’ by James Morrow

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The editors say up front that this is not an SF anthology (although it sort of is) so they can hardly be criticised for not publishing any decent SF stories. They can, however, be criticised for not publishing any stories with decent ideas or any humour. Thankfully ‘Auspicious Eggs’ centres on a darkly brilliant piece of speculation which provides plenty moments of appalling humour.

As you would expect from Morrow it revolves around religion, in this case imagining a Catholic church that has extended the rights of the born not just to the unborn but those with the mere potentiality of birth. Literally every sperm is sacred and so is every egg. This is rigidly enforced on Boston Isle leading to a dystopia where babies with a low chance of reproducing are subject to the Sacrament of Terminal Baptism and all adults must submit to the Sacrament of Extramarital Intercourse at times of their peak fertility. No belly laughs here but some brutally effective satire.

‘Auspicious Eggs’ was shortlisted for the 2001 Best Novelette Nebula Award. Morrow lost to Kelly Link but there is no shame in that and the story is of a quality noticeably absent from the rest of Witpunk.

Quality: ****
Wit: ***

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Written by Martin

8 December 2009 at 18:49

Posted in books, short stories

Tagged with ,

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