where the writers are
Short Stories 365:290

Today was actually a really fun day. My boss dropped by unexpectedly and had 99% positive things to say, I got to welcome two new people to the store, and they enjoyed the training program I helped develop, someone came into the store and bought two copies of my book, and someone else tweeted about buying a copy.

Total win.

"Soaring Pillar of Brightness," by Nancy Fulda

This story, from Beyond the Sun is one of the most deftly done "human realizing something awful about an alien culture" stories I've read in ages. Even better, it's nowhere near as simple as that, and has layers that peel back multiple times within the same narrative.

When humanity landed on a planet with herbivorous native four-legged (and somewhat simple) sentient life on it, they struck a deal to ensure they didn't intrude on their culture, but when an accidental recording of the death (and death ritual) of one of their species comes to the attention of an anthropologist, he realizes a dark truth about these simple and benign creatures, and feels the need to tell them the truth.

But, the truth is never quite what we expect, no?

Bravo. Loved it.