Saturday, October 3, 2015

Zen Angel, by Rajnar Vajra

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, May 2015;  ~20,700 words
Rating: 3, Good, ordinary, story

In 2065, the government gives the apparently-immortal Lenny Silver a dangerous mission of great importance to the human race.

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

Pro: Great narration and dialogue. The alien creatures and technologies are very well-thought-out and beautifully described. The action doesn't let up, and there's a good bit of tension all the way to the end.

Con: Speaking of the end, what happened? The title warns that Lenny is a "Zen Angel," so perhaps an inconclusive ending is appropriate, but still. The Vine are just a little bit too altruistic to believe. We kept expecting some sort of double-cross. There are a few technical howlers. The cosmic background radiation is 2.7K, so solid helium is not an option. The idea that the other aliens all used base 10 and didn't know there were other bases was hard to believe as well.

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