Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Heart's Filthy Lesson, by Elizabeth Bear

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(Retro SF) Fun adventure on Old Venus. Dharthi risks her life in an unexplored part of Ishtar Terra looking for evidence of a vanished civilization that would save her career. (10,400 words; Time: 34m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average
Recommended By: RHorton:5 JStrahan

"," by (edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

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

Pro: The descriptions of the forest and the wildlife are excellent, and the encounter with the "tigers" is captivating and thrilling all at the same time.

The Zork reference when Kraken warned Dharthi that she might be eaten by a grue in the dark was very funny.  Likewise the animal called a "damnthing" was a nice H. Beam Piper reference. It's reasonable to believe that explorers on other worlds might name animals and features after things from literature.

Con: There's no complexity to the adventure. She makes a linear path to her target, overcoming obstacles as she goes. It's not even clear that she's made any progress on her issues with feelings of inadequacy. And the political elements detract from the story, as Lois Tilton has observed.

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