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Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight" by Ursula K. Le Guin

Appeared in
  1. Fantasy & Science Fiction, 
  2. Gardner Dozois' Year's Best Science Fiction, 
  3. Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling's Year's Best Fantasy, 
  4. Arthur W. Saha's Year's Best Fantasy Stories, 
  5. Gardner Dozois's Modern Classics of Fantasy, 
  6. Robert Silverberg's A Century of Fantasy 1980-1989, 
  7. Robert Silverberg's The Fantasy Hall of Fame, 
  8. American Fantasy Tradition, (Sep 2002, ed. Brian M. Thomsen,
  1. Hugo
  2. World Fantasy
  3. Locus nominee
  4. Sturgeon nominee
  5. Nebula nominee
Clearly, this story is highly respected, deservedly so.  Its charm begins almost immediately.  A young girl has fallen from an airplane and protects one eye:
"Did you lose an eye?" the coyote asked, interested.
"I don't know," the child said....
"I'll help you look for it....  I knew a trick once where I could throw my eyes way up into a tree and see everything from up there, and then whistle, and they'd come back into my head. But that goddam bluejay stole them, and wen I whistled nothing came.  I had to stick lumps of pine pitch into my head so I could see anything.  You could try that. But you've got one eye that's OK, what do you need two for?  re you coming or are you dying there?"
 The child follows various animals-as-humans around (who behave much like native American gods). Since she has little background, probably she is our surrogate witness:  Perhaps some of our "civilized" hang-ups, such as where we relieve ourselves, are unnecessary.  The primary key, though, is our relationship with nature, in particular animals--the environment:  how we impinge their world.

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