Monday, June 13, 2011

All the News That's Fit

Short Story by Carol Emshwiller

Darta and her mountain village get all their news when Flimm, a sort of traveling reporter, hikes several days from the nearest town to bring it to them. But it's been a month since Flimm showed up, and they worry that he's dead, so Darta sets out to find him.

Much of the story's length is spent on Darta realizing how isolated and backwards her village is. She marvels over the size of draft horses, and strange clothing and whatnot. This is the sort of thing, and I find myself writing this weirdly often, that would be boring from most writers, but Emshwiller makes it charming and fun.

Anyway, besides Darta's big adventure, this is really a story about what happened to the newsman, and about who has the right to decide what other people are told or not told. Is it better to preserve innocence, or let people make up their own minds how much they want their own innocence preserved? The world is really much different than Darta, and thus the reader, are lead to believe.

I tend to agree with Darta, and I'm absolutely thrilled the story averted the ending I expected. It says much more, and is much more interesting that way. Not that I should expect any less from Emshwiller, but I'm just too used to authors who aren't quite so good.

3.5 tinniest dogs in the world out of 5.

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