Ken Liu. Tying Knots. (Clarkesworld Magazine #52, January 2011)

Available on Clarkesworld magazine to read, so read it!.

Liu brings together an ancient eastern tradition of recording using knotted string, with Western technology and mores. The Sky Village, growing rice at the the top of a mountain above the clouds, provides an anthropolical find for a research from the USA, who has a hunch. Can the tying of knots somewhow untangle the knotty problem of genetic modification and DNA sequencing.

The elder who visits the States finds the inspiration from another eastern tradition, and is able to provide an insight that will earn the hi-tech company squillions. However, it is a one-way flow of knowledge, with no reciprocity. Was it ever thus.

Nicely told, with each perspective handled well, and the story, which warms the reader, rapidly chilling in the closing sentences.

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