Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Usher, by Jay Werkheiser

★★★★☆ Recommended

Uplifting story in which Dave, a scientist who is losing his sight and hearing to Usher syndrome, attempts to communicate with aliens that neither see nor hear. (8,700 words; Time: 29m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘RSR+1 (Q&A)

"Usher," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 01-02|15, published on by .

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

Review: 2015.014 (A Word for Authors)

Pro:Usher Syndrome is a real thing. It doesn't really help Dave solve the puzzle, of course, but that's okay. His insight that the aliens use magnetic fields and that they experience spectra is what solves it, and he does this despite his handicap. The end is very satisfying not just because the puzzle is solved but because Dave has found a valuable role he can fulfill now.

Con: The rush by the UN to take over seems a bit contrived. It artificially adds urgency. The notion that the aliens are about to leave seems odd, since they seemed to be in desperate need of boron--where were they going? And the idea of doing a gravitational assist off another star to come here is ridiculous.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I kinda like this one, how alien is potrayed as truly alien with incomprehensible way of communication unlike most sci-fi aliens. it got the vibes of the film Arrival, but even better as this was released 2 years before the movie! Yes I'm aware of the novella but most people haven't heard of it before the adaptation.

    1. For aliens that are hard to communicate with, I like the ones C.J. Cherryh created for "Pride of Chanur" and its sequels. The written form is two dimensional, and all the paths (or all the orthogonal ones) mean something.

  3. Thanks for the tip! Added to my (ever-growing) list 😁