Seonag and the Seawolves
I think I've mentioned before that novelettes are fast becoming one of my favorite story forms. Short enough to read in one sitting, long enough to provide space for lots of character development and immersion in vivid worlds, to set up complex, meaningful problems and then solve them.
I complain a lot about the modern publishing industry and how certain huge online retailers are black holes that warp the fabric of our community, but... as least online venues have made the novelette and the novella viable story forms. We can thank Tor.com and ebooks for that much.
Anyway, Seonag and the Seawolves: I liked this one! My main delight was in the prose, particularly the use of Gaelic in translation into English--or in approximation. This kind of writing really shows the power of language and satisfies a weird, possibly neuro-atypical itch to play around with the deep meaning of words. I've been learning Spanish, slowly because my brain is full of holes, but steadily, and this is why: we exist in the space between the words. Learning a second (or third, or fourth) language opens up that space for meaning and understanding in a way that monoligual people can't access.
I love the way this story plays around with double meanings and different signifiers for the same things. "He said there are no mic-thìre, but there are madaidhean-allaidh. The first means children of the land. The second means wild dogs." There's also really interesting malleability of meaning around the contrast between wolves and hunters.
Not to spoil anything, but I love any story that integrates humans back into nature, and also makes me wish someone deserving was seeing my tattoos on the regular. The post-script-y section at the end was a little flat and moralizing; I wish the story ended with more gorgeous uncertainty. But honestly the beauty of the prose and the imagery carries this story pretty far. It's lovely.