Thursday, October 22, 2015

Just Browsing, by Stephen Lombard

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January/February 2015; ~7,500 words
Rating: 2, Not recommended

A small-town librarian has to host aliens from Epsilon Cygni who for unknown reasons have asked permission to visit his library.

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

Pro: The actual story is that Kelly does a disagreeable task for his estranged wife and in the process wins her back. It's interesting that the aliens seek new things, and as we have no idea what's unique about our civilization, we're taken by surprise by the things that interest them. It's also nice that Kelly earns an additional day for us to download information.

Con: Very hard to sustain disbelief for this one. The government wouldn't hide the existence of aliens--they'd be big news. A visit would be accompanied by tremendous security. Every moment would be carefully recorded, and would be attended by highly qualified people. The notion that data could only be downloaded via a narrow-bandwidth channel doesn't hold water. It goes on.

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