The Parliament of Beasts and Birds

Next up in the short story list – “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C Wright. (It’s at, go read it before reading my thoughts).

It’s got atmosphere, for sure. That’s something that – in my experience – Wright is good at; it’s why I liked _Count to a Trillion_ so much, for example.

And yet … it doesn’t feel like science fiction to me; it feels like a *fable*, like a retelling of something out of Aesop, only with a markedly Christian tinge. And as such, the atmosphere quickly turned suffocating and overwhelming; I had to force myself through the story, after a certain point, because it was going *nowhere*.

Eventually it got somewhere, and it was revealed (a) that it was entirely deus ex machina (which, honestly, was probably the point) and that (b) there’s no real *story* in the sense that a story is something inherently about conflict (person-vs-person, person-vs-society, person-vs-self). It was a snapshot of a moment in time, a moment of change certainly, but still just a still life, rather than a story.

The thing is, though, that such things can work for me; they have done in the past, I am sure they will in the future. And yet this one left me cold; it did not move me *at all*. And that’s probably a result of the fact that it was explicitly a Christian fable, and Christian fables just don’t do it for me.

Which, at the end of the day, somewhat underscores the culture war at the heart of puppygate.

I will be voting this below ‘No Award’.


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