Saturday, June 6, 2015

Championship B'tok

Edward M. Lerner's Championship B'tok is a nominee for a 2015 Hugo. The story is about an alien colony in our solar system (they are our prisoners). Everyone in the story has a scheme: the aliens want to escape their human containment, the humans are involved in various plans against each other, the aliens, and shadowy organizations. The titular game is an alien chess (with pieces possessing dynamic powers, on a mutable 3D board, etc.), with complicated strategy, which is an obvious-but-not-beaten-to-death metaphor for various situations in the story.

It was readable and interesting. Decent! My only complaint is that it seemed short, but I see now that this "novelette" is part of a larger multi-piece project from this author. So perhaps the novel-length story I would enjoy exists and includes this and is already written. This little piece is the only bit nominated for a Hugo.

This post's theme word is catawampus, "askew, crooked, diagonally positioned." Your knight is catawampus and your munitions supply is vulnerable, sir --- you are bad at playing chess and organizing defensive military installations.

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