Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Planet of Fear, by Paul McAuley

Old Venus, 2015; ~11,300 words
Rating: 3, Good, ordinary, story  Recommended By:  Locus

On an alternate Venus, communist Russians investigate mysterious disappearances and worry that the Americans are behind it.

Lois Tilton recommended this story, partly on the grounds that it would be pure hard SF if you moved the setting to a different planet.

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

Pro: This one is modeled after Cold War thrillers like Gorky Park.  Katya and the Captain both come across as real people, committed to their views but not actually evil. The story arc is clean, progressing from "what happened" to "here's what happened." Katya's a good protagonist, takes direct action, doesn't get pushed around too much.

Con: It's a linear story, and there are no early clues that enlighten the later action. There's no hint that the pigs are a red herring, for example. Also, the Captain's paranoia against the Americans gets to be hard to believe.

1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. I liked this story. I would consider this a 3 to 4 rating.