Short Fiction Friday: The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees

The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu, Clarkesworld #55.

[no synopsis provided]

I came across this story when I was look for World Fantasy Awards nominated and winning stories. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees a WFA nominee back in 2012, it was further nominated for HUGO and Locus awards and won the Nebula award back in 2011. A whole lot of praise for E. Lily Yu, and it is well deserved. 

The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees is a hard story to place in a category, the best suited post would be Science Fiction, not the general part but a niche of its own. I always keep on saying that this genre is made for the genre benders and E. Lily Yu is precisely one such author. Going the extra distance to deliver a stunningly original story. Going in to the story I didn't know what I could expect. Were the Wasps and the Bees purely a metaphor for something bigger? Well no.

The story of The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees shows the story of two sides one from the Wasps and the other from the Bees. There isn't really a protagonist that you follow, it is more told from a birdseye view and this directly produced a wonderful sense to the story. 

It begins actually with a dire scene as a village discovers something in a Wasp nest which makes them terrified of them. The Wasps have carefully detailed the outlines their land and this scares them. Luckily a small band of Wasps manage to escape and start a new, but with so little to go on they exert their dominance and they enslave a nearby Beehive. The pressure and dominance that the Wasp colony shows on the Bees does leave it's mark on the long run. The Bees aren't stupid, they learn and adapt and well there you have it. One day an Anarchist Bee is born, and this Bee has one goal in mind... 

I haven't encountered such a story before and when you look at the bigger picture, extrapolate and translate it, it makes a lot of sense and actually could be place in some historical events. 

E. Lily Yu has written a many layered story with The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees. It's an amazing piece that you have to have read. It will chance how you look on some things. The best part of it is the ending, though the story is contained, the ending offers a nice perspective to think about the future. 

Be sure to read The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees on Clarkesworld


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