Friday, July 27, 2007

Donna Glee Williams' "Limits": Outstanding short story

I discovered Strange Horizons magazine only recently, when going over the list of short stories nominated for this year's Hugo award - so I thought may be I should check out the magazine. They publish one story every Monday, & have some 400 odd ones in archives. "Limits" is this week's entry, & an outstanding one.

This story actually is not sf, but a generic motivational one - told in an interesting setting. It's is about discovering the limits of your ability, irrespective of social expectations that often make you settle for less.

Full text of the story is available online.

Story summary.
We don't know if the story is set on earth or elsewhere. We are introduced to a tribal community living up a massive mountain. Mountain is so big that most people think of traveling as in the direction of up or down, rather than horizontal!

Actors are from Home Village. Every individual has limits on how far up/down he/she can go; beyond limit, they find the environment too hot or cold. Len has a range of 7 villages in either direction. The story is about her son, Cam.

As Cam grows up, he attempts to discover his limits the way other children do. As he grows older, his friends discover their limits & settle down. Only he & his girlfriend Fox seem to not find it. Eventually, Fox finds her up limit.

End is where Cam goes all the way up alone to the top of the mountain, discovers a plateau, & then descend on the other side. And Fox goes all the way down alone to mountain floor that is at the edge of the ocean.

Beautifully told.

Fact sheet.
Limits, short story, review
Rating: A
First published: Strange Horizons, 23 July 2007
This story made it to my "best of the year" picks for 2007.


LR (WWWHA) said...

I've read this fine story and am so glad to see it mentioned here. Kudos to the author, Donna Glee Williams for a fully developed culture and an engrossing tale. Highly reccommended!

Diane said...

I, too, have read this engaging story. As a lover of short stories, I found the characters to be rich and full, and the plot original and thought-provoking. It's one of those stories you think about for a long time after you read it. Ms. Williams is an author to watch!