Blogging the Hugos: A Single Samurai

“A Single Samurai”
Steven Diamond
Category: Best Short Story

baen_monstersThis is the story of a samurai attempting to kill a mountain-size kaiju by climbing up it, Shadow of the Colossus style. Here, though, samurai aren’t just the warrior class of feudal Japan, but a secret order of monster hunters with magical swords. Actually there could be some potential in this idea, and I suppose it’s not so different from imagining Western knights as dragon-slayers. This story was too short to do much with it, though: it was basically climb-fight-climb-fall, and, of course, a hara-kiri scene for the grand finale. There doesn’t seem to be any more detail than the two things everyone knows about samurai: they carry two swords, and they commit gory ritual suicide.

The monster isn’t much more impressive. It’s big, it has weird stone-skin cat-things living on it, it has a suspiciously easily-accessible brain… that’s about it. So what was in this story? There weren’t any other human characters of note. There was some extremely obvious foreshadowing. That’s about it. For a story about a giant monster fight, this was pretty dull. I’d rather play Shadow of the Colossus.

As a bonus, here are stories about specific numbers of samurai, ranked:
2. “A Single Samurai”
1. Seven Samurai
(Note The Last Samurai doesn’t count, because the title refers to the last group of samurai. They don’t mean Tom Cruise, that would be ridiculous.)