When I wrote about the Hugo Short Story nominees I expressed how Elizabeth Bear’s “Tideline” was not a story I could get excited about and that it was not a story I would have nominated for the Hugo. I feel differently about “Your Collar”. A minotaur is freed from the labyrinth at Crete. This is not a beast, but a thinking creature which honors his commitments though Asterion cannot speak. Asterion is brought to England, to a Queen, and from that moment, knowing the legends of minotaurs, we (as readers) expect the story to go in one of two directions. Elizabeth Bear chooses another path. “Your Collar” is one of the best of all of Bear’s short fiction. The story is thoughtful, moving, intelligent, and surprising.
I sincerely hope that “Your Collar” is nominated for a 2009 Hugo. When I finished reading the story once, I started back at the beginning to get a bit more from the story the second time through.