24 April 2009

"What I Didn't See" Short Story Recommendation

Title: "What I Didn't See" (This Link Is Now Down)
Author: Karen Joy Fowler
Genre: Historical mystery
From SciFi.com
Word Count 7,500 approx

The SF in this story is very subtle, the 'S' here standing for 'speculative' rather than 'science'. The tale concerns something that happened during a seven person trek into Africa during the 1920s to look for gorillas. Gorillas were very mysterious to Westerners back then, and attitudes towards them are different from those that modern readers might have today.

Attitudes to women were different, too.

A quote with which to summarise the themes of the story:

I watched it all through the sight of my gun. I might have hit him several times—spared the women, freed the women. But I couldn't see that they wanted freeing and Eddie had told me never to shoot a gun angry. The gorillas faded from the meadow.

Despite being historical rather than science fictional, "What I Didn't See" won the Nebula award in 2003. To check it out and see what you think yourself, click on the link above or here.

Morva Shepley

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