2 thoughts on ““Blood Grains Speak Through Memories,” by Jason Sanford”

  1. I think I started this one out in an over-exhausted frame of mind, but it didn’t really work for me. I’ve pretty much given up on it two-thirds of the way through.

    The premise of immensely-powerful "grains" communicating via memory and granting power to those who they influence is both unusual and cool.

    But the implementation really didn’t work for me. No one thing in particular, just a bunch of individual points that just didn’t manage to pull me in.

    – It takes quite a while for the story to start. There’s some scene-setting and general foreboding and brooding. But it’s a few scenes until Frere-Jones is actually engaged in something (when Alexnya returns, infected). It’s even longer until we understand the larger struggle Frere-Jones is really engaged in, against the control of the grains. And even THEN, her struggle is vague, abstract, opposition in principle with no actual immediate goal. The story’s primary narrative thrust seems to be "The grains are really awful, I shall suffer under them and mitigate their harm in ultimately meaningless ways."

    – Memory-speaking is made much of, but it’s hardly *used*. Several times Frere-Jones seems to lapse into one of Haoquin’s memories, but the memories are told *from Frere-Jones’s point of view*. *All* the memories are, in the story, distractions, annoyances, whose relevance is unclear. (There’s an obvious use of them as a tool for flashbacks, but the reason you *want* a tool for flashbacks is because *skipping into unrelated flashbacks is REALLY annoying*.)

    – There’s something that really bugs me about the grains being so *blatantly* evil, uncaring, incapable of compromise or sense of proportion, and *practically every anchor but F-J being fine with that.* When you’re *that* restrictive and constraining, and *that* overwhelmingly powerful, people are going to chafe.

    None of these are major criticisms, and I can see why others really liked it. But it just didn’t draw me in or hold my interest.

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