Rated 6.72 out of 10 Statistics
Occasional Sexual Content
Overall Rating: 6.721
Average Rating: 10 (Guests), 4 (Members)
Rating Count: 2 (1 Guests, 1 members)
1 indicates a weighted rating.
"Murky and Ungrounded" permalink
These stories are not nearly as strong as Aphorisms of Kherishdar, and for me suffer both from stylistic and intellectual approach.
Each piece in this collection is told by a different narrator, so the sparse description and brevity doesn’t have the benefit of building on itself over time. They do build into a characterization of the person of Shame, who is never a narrator, but while I like the idea the result was weak.
I often found the stories ungrounded, because they are little more than a voice describing only one extraordinary, often painful moment in their lives. I get no sense of who they are other than this ’sin’ and their reaction to their ‘Corrections.’ As another commenter noted, the voices often sound the same and end up blurring together. To me the voices didn’t seem like realistic portrayals of the inner thoughts of people from these walks of life, but rather the tropes of people from these walks of life. There was little nuance in their characterization, nothing for me to connect to something deeper.
Admonishments of Kherishdar relies much more heavily on the morally relativistic ‘This might not work for us but it works for them’ idea than Aphorisms, and so the weakness there was magnified significantly.
The Ai-Naidar are bipedal mammals who have developed a (presumably) agrarian-based, hierarchical, urbanized civilization. They appear to have two eyes, ears, hands, feet, and a mouth. From reading both collections I have no reason to believe their weather, geology, flora and fauna, solar radiation, gravity, physical senses, or diet are in any way significantly different from ours (they do not, for instance, have a bi-annual plague of fire-eating insects). Essentially, they are us, but with fur, cat-ears, claws, and a tail. Thus it’s hard for me to suspend my disbelief when presented with ‘They’re different from us and what doesn’t work for us works for them.’ I don’t see how they are different from us, or why shaming, torture, and brainwashing would work healthily for them. Also, despite how ‘different’ they are, they seem to espouse rather mainstream views on monogamy, abortion, and possibly masochism. I also don’t buy that a society insisted to be a near utopia would have the psychological ills described. Those psychological ills are very much grounded in our civilization.
The stories are still thought-provoking, but without the precision and grace of Aphorisms. There are a handful of stories in here that evoked the same rewarding internal conflicts in me that Aphorisms did that I think are worth checking out:
-Non-Conformity -Vanity -Perversion -Ignorance -Tolerance -Cradle -Calling