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‘Temple of Children’ Short Review

Temple of Children takes a different approach to displaying alien culture, focusing primarily on the traditions of raising children and how they differ between humans and an alien race. The writing is strong, and the attention to detail makes the story an engaging read. 

We take the human growth period for granted, assuming all children are watched carefully and given strict education for years before they go out on their own. In human society, there’s constant protection from danger and death, provided by families and societal institutions. Here, we see a species who birth multiple children at a time. Many of these children don’t survive into adulthood, so education and supervision doesn’t begin until they survive the transition to adulthood. It’s tragic to a human mindset but, in their eyes, it’s just how things are. 

I found Temple of Children to be a very interesting read from an anthropological standpoint. The story provides an interesting lens for examining societal differences and the complexities of encountering alien cultures. At the beginning, it feels like this species is stealing children for some nefarious purpose. The opposite is true at the end, showing how important it is to fully understand other cultures before rash decisions are made.

Temple of Children

Written by Jennifer R. Povey
Analog Science Fiction and Fact
January/February 2019


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