Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Stonebrood, by Alec Nevala-Lee

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(Hard SF) A near-future story about a team in Pennsylvania trying to put out a fifty-year-old underground coal fire using swarms of mosquito-sized drones to try to map the extent of it. But there are worse things down there than toxic gasses, and the most dangerous things aren't buried at all. (11,453 words; Time: 38m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"Stonebrood," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 10|15, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The micro drones are almost the only SF element in the entire story, but that's okay. I kept wondering if something supernatural were happening, but that's okay too. There's plenty of suspense.

Con: The most serious problem is that the author has a habit of distancing himself from his protagonist. He'll say "Marius saw X happen" rather than just "X happened," and he does this over and over. He never uses interior monologue at all, and the net effect is to make the whole story fall a little bit flat.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 10|15)
Alec Nevala-Lee Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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