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by Aliette de Bodard

Series: Xuya Universe (short story), Xuya Universe, chronological (22nd century)

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2041,108,388 (3.81)2

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Written well, but I strongly disagree with de Bodard's metaphorical characterization of sophisticated 'galactic' (global) culture as an addictive habit that will take over and destroy 'purer,' 'simpler' cultures. Sure, sure, the 'tourism' device she imagines certainly could have the problems and potentials she mentions, but that's not what she's really talking about. She's talking about 'cultural immersion,' and objecting to (or treating with condescending sympathy) people who choose not to remain 'true' to their 'ancestral culture,' and characterizing them as 'lost souls.' I read the end of the story as an argument in favor of some kind of 'separate but equal' scenario, and an argument that people from different backgrounds literally cannot *think* in the same way and can never truly understand each other. As a believer in shared humanity, and a believer in the ability of creative works (and yes, even our technological devices) to help different peoples understand one another, I find the underlying messages in this story not just wrong, but pernicious. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
A lot of things are stuffed into this short story. Imperialism, whether economic, cultural, or in the recent past nakedly military. Class and money. Identity, and how it ties into the imperialism. The use and abuse of technology. Common themes, but handled deftly, and with a genuine sf slant to them. There's some superb world-building done in a short story word count, and characters whose fate I care about. This one's my pick for the Hugo, although it was a hard choice between this and Ken Lui's story. ( )
  JulesJones | Jan 5, 2014 |
Dull tale about a device that makes a race look like their alien 'superiors'. ( )
  AlanPoulter | Mar 30, 2013 |
A few obeservations on Immersion and the theme of cultural dominance can be found here. Spoilers ahead. ( )
  Valashain | Feb 3, 2013 |
Showing 4 of 4
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