American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: Mono no aware

Friday July 5, 2019

“Hiroto,” Dad said as he shook me awake. “Pack up your things. It’s time.”
My small suitcase was ready. I just had to put my Go set into it. Dad gave this to me when I was five, and the times we played were my favorite hours of the day.

From the story “Mono no aware” by Ken Liu, published in the June 2013 issue of Lightspeed and sent in to us by A. Wadja.

This story is also included in “The Final Frontier,” a recently-published science fiction anthology, edited by Neil Clarke. The story includes go as a metaphor for patience and larger thinking, writes David Bogie. “The Japanese protagonist, young Hiroto, makes sure his go set is among the few articles his family is allowed as they prepare to abandon Earth. While trying to teach go to a young American, Hiroto is told, ‘All the stones are the same…boring. There are no heroes in go!’ The story calmly unfolds into tragedy proving there are heroes in space.”

Go also features in “Shiva In Shadow,” by Nancy Kress (also included in “The Final Frontier,”), which takes place on a star ship visiting a black hole. “Go is proposed as mental and social training intended to bring two scientists closer together as the team attacks a quantum physics discovery,” writes Bogie. “This does not end well.”

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