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Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.
Her fiction has variously been recommended for a Nebula, a finalist for the Spectrum, placed on the secondary Tiptree reading list and chosen for two best-of anthologies; her art has appeared in RPGs, magazines and on book covers.
on Feb. 20, 2011 :
It took me some time to write this review, and I had to re-read it. This is a story that not only rewards re-reading, but almost requires it, I think.
It is, at the core, a story about an epiphany. And epiphanies are tricky. They burst in, all at once, without -- for the person experiencing it -- any warning or foreshadowing at all. BOOM! And your head is turned inside-out and everything changes even if it's still the same.
To set this up so the reader experiences the epiphany without it being a "tomato surprise" or "where did that come from" is *tricky.* For me, Elements of Freedom didn't quite manage that. So my first read, when I didn't know what was going to happen... I felt it didn't quite work, for me. I wasn't going, "OH!" so much as, "Oh. Okay. Makes sense, I guess."
Re-reading, knowing what's being led up to, allows one to notice more of the delicate foreshadowing (a little *too* delicate for me, first time through) and therefore it's more effective. So overall, I'd call it 3.5 stars -- 3 first time, 4 second time.
And, whatever my reaction to the epiphany, this is another piece of worldbuilding in the universe of the Pelted, and that's worth dropping a dollar into the jar just on its own.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Nov. 25, 2010 :
MCA Hogarth's stories are consistently good, and I applaud her for writing stories with clean language and uplifting themes.
I really enjoyed this story of self-discovery. I loved the characters, and it's a nice introduction to the Ciracaana, one of Hogarth's Pelted races. My one complaint is that it felt like an appetizer, and now I want more! I'd love to see this developed into a longer story.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Nov. 05, 2010 :
A first view of a new Alliance Pelted race, this story tells of a young Tam-Illee vixen's attempt to save a stubborn tribe from an upcoming earthquake. But to do so, she has to go through a ritual that threatens to show her things about herself that she might not be happy to know...
It as all the usual brilliance by Micah, finely detailed cultures and alien races, and the interplay between religion and culture. A very worthwhile read.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Nov. 04, 2010 :
Finally we get to see inside an Alliance race that we've never seen before. This story is all about culture, without the shiny technological bells and whistles of the Alliance. The author's usual way with description brings the Ciracaana and their world to vibrant life and really implies a lot of history to them.
There are a lot of good themes in this one; it's a great feel-good story. Finding oneself and freedom are the main ones. Very uplifting story, showing a defining moment of someone's life.
(reviewed the day of purchase)