Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Algebra of Events, by Elizabeth Bourne

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A ship of very alien aliens crash lands on Earth and has difficulty with the natives. (2,177 words; Time: 07m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 108, published on .

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

Pro: The idea of aliens who are naturally liquid and communicate by scent was interesting. The fact that they're planning to stay--and still don't realize how much damage they're doing--makes the ending chilling.

Con: It's hard to read more than a few paragraphs without something popping you out of the story. The math gobbledygook (e.g. "conjugation of a perfect irrational") will bother anyone who actually knows any math. The idea of a computing element (even a biological one) that is ruined simply because it produced a negative result will bother anyone who actually understands computers. And the idea that aliens could have any need for terrestrial bacteria will bother anyone who knows any biology.

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. I really liked this one. It was both tender and horrifying, just like the aliens in the ship that crash-lands. I guess I don't know enough about math or biology to be bothered by the FTL travel mechanism or the aliens' diet. I thought it was hinted that the animal that does the computations was brutalized to the point of uselessness because of its error, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and would definitely give it more than 2 stars.