Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Footprints In The Snow, by Bud Sparhawk

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Alberto seems to be a caricature of a bigot. He hates the family of spider-like alien refugees who've moved in next door and won't give them a fair chance. But first impressions can be misleading--this story rewards readers who persist.  (5,152 words; Time: 17m)

Rating: ★★★★★, Award-Worthy
Recommended By: SFRevu:4

"Footprints In The Snow," by , appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact issue 12|15, published on by .

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

Pro: Alberto is cranky, but he's hiding how sad and lonely he is. The story reveals this to us bit by bit until our impression of him has turned around 180 degrees. He grumbles about the aliens, and the government, and the community association. Only later do we look back at that and realize he grumbles to keep from being sad.

From the point where he thinks "Besides, they looked sort of cute as the scurried along," we start to see a different side of Alberto. Not "the real Alberto," because the bigoted attitudes are certainly part of him too, but as we see the "whole Alberto," we realize there's something about him that's worthy of love.

That's the real magic of this story. By the end, not only are we convinced that Alberto needs love, we believe he deserves it too.

Con: The beginning of the story makes Alberto too much of a caricature. It's easy to think it's making a political statement, but that isn't what this is really about.

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