Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Walkabout Amongst The Stars, by Lezli Robyn

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(SF) Earth sends Tyrille to investigate why the Voyager 1 spacecraft abruptly began broadcasting again--as if someone had refurbished it. (6,100 words; Time: 20m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆, Not Recommended

"A Walkabout Amongst The Stars," by (edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt), appeared in Mission: Tomorrow (RSR review), published on by .

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

This story hits us with one belief-buster after another. The robot is absurdly literal-minded; it appears that they didn't load the whole dictionary into it. The scene where the robot repeats the distance from Earth in parsecs is painful to read. When they find the artifact, the text says "the readings displayed on her helmet's holoscreen confirmed it was alien," for all the world as though alien objects used different atoms. Likewise, the notion that after that long trip out she only has a few days before she has to boost back is just ridiculous.

The ending is deeply unsatisfying as well. She fails and we never find out what happens to her. And why would aliens advanced enough to travel among the stars need to steal human technology anyway?

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