Posts Tagged ‘Kij Johnson’

16
May

Kij Johnson’s “Spar,” Nebula Award-Winning Short Story, 2010

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in On Authors

Warning: Mature, sexual content to follow.

I just read “Spar,” Kij Johnson‘s short story, winner of last night’s 2010 Nebula short story award. You can read it here, but know that it’s full of mature content. Its opening sentence:

In the tiny lifeboat, she and the alien fuck endlessly, relentlessly.

My first impression of the entire story was that I thought it was quite creative, and so I understood why it won the Nebula award, but that I didn’t particularly like the story. I felt better about feeling that way after reading Kij say that she herself doesn’t like it at all. A fuller quote from her is: “This is a story I love without liking it at all … It’s a difficult story to read, and it’s hard to see past the graphic aspects to what the story is really about.”

I thought the sexual references cheapened the story a bit, and that the ending could’ve been stronger.

Then I read her explanation of the meaning of the story, which I suspected I’d missed, and I smiled. I reread the story and smiled some more. The story’s repetition of words like “cunt,” which felt a bit gimmicky to me initially, made more than perfect sense when the story became candid allegory.

Before you consider reading Kij’s explanation of “Spar,” you might want to read the story itself. Can you figure out what she’s saying first (it’s a lot more fun that way, isn’t it?)?

I think I came close at one point while reading it, but I didn’t quite get it until I read about it from her directly.

Now I’m really glad the imagery of “Spar” will stick with me.

Congratulations on the award, Kij!

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