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Golubash (Wine-Blood-War-Story) by Catherynne M. Valente

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“Golubash (Wine-Blood-War-Story)” is a 2009 science fiction short story by Catherynne M. Valente. It is about a small, rebel vineyard in a large, interstellar wine trade.

I am not a wine connoisseur – in fact, I am not even a wine drinker. That may surprise and / or shock some of you, but hey, that’s how I was raised. While I may not be a part of the whole wine tasting culture, I can at least appreciate it. And I can also appreciate a good story – even when it is about wine! Here is a beauty, which I’m sure will be even sweeter to some of you than it was to me!

Non-Spoiler Summary

Wine by Keisuke Makino, CC 2.0 License

Avalokitesvara is the name of the human-colonized planet circling Barnard’s Star. It is here that one colonist lovingly brought a grape vine from Earth, and convinced the sentient planet to allow it to grow. It is here that one family used the alien resources along the New Danube river to create a craft wine that tasted like nothing else in the galaxy. And it is here that the trade monopolies of the galaxy focused their wrath when that one family tried to take its vintages to other worlds without permission. This story, part wine-tasting and part history lesson, tells not only how the exquisite wine was created, but also how the wine rebellion played out.

My Two Cents

  • Story: 5 stars – A very unique story! This is the first time I’ve encountered a war over wine. (Although the author says that real-life Earth events inspired her story.)
  • Writing: 5 stars – Excellent! The descriptions of the narrator’s world, and the wines, were absolutely fantastic! Also, telling the story in the context of a wine tasting was brilliant!
  • Fun Factor: 5 stars – I loved it! I thought the beautiful writing and the unique story came together really nicely. It was a joy to read!

Where To Find Golubash (Wine-Blood-War-Story)

  • This short story first appeared in April 2009, in John Joseph Adam’s very cool anthology Federations.
  • You can read (or listen to) “Golubash (Wine-Blood-War-Story)” online for free at Escape Pod.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you liked “Golubash (Wine-Blood-War-Story)” then you might also enjoy “Turquoise Days” by Alastair Reynolds – about a woman whose swim with ocean dwelling aliens causes dramatic changes in her life.