Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Unveiling, by Christopher Rowe

Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, January 2015; ~4,500 words
Rating: 4, Recommended  Recommended By:    SFEP

A middle-aged foreman whose crew does menial jobs on planet Castellon finds something unusual during a routine job cleaning statues meant to be unveiled the next day.

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

Pro: This is the story of how Tayne found a way to give his life meaning. At the start, he's mostly numb to it. At the end, he focuses on protecting his crew. That his sacrifice inspired a successful revolution is a satisfying side-effect. Throughout the story, we see that Tayne is a good man. He wants to take care of his workers, but he also wants to do his duty to his employers. Only when the system leaves him no alternatives does he revolt against it.

The history of companies abusing workers in company towns goes back at least 150 years, so that element shouldn't surprise anyone.

Con: Even so, the political element is hard to miss. The revolutionary outcome actually detracts from the story, since otherwise it was about Tayne's sacrifice, which was just as worthy with or without the side-effect.

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