Friday, March 25, 2016

Spine, by Christopher Fowler

(Hard SF) A young marine scientist in a sleepy coastal California town investigates the death of a man apparently killed by jellyfish--even though the local varieties are all harmless. (~6,887 words)

Rating: 2, Not Recommended

"Spine," by appeared in the March-April 2016 issue of Interzone Magazine (Issue 263), published by .

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

Pro: This story gets off to a great start. The descriptions are vivid, the characters are solid, and the tension is real. All the way up to the point where Jackson arrives, the story is dynamite.

Con: And then it completely falls apart. The dialogue between Cody and Jackson is highly unnatural--as though they're giving speeches, not talking to each other. And the narrator abruptly starts giving speeches too. "The seas had been plundered for so long that now perhaps it was time for its residents to fight back." Finally, as the jellyfish become more and more powerful, they change from being a scary, natural problem to being a hard-to-believe supernatural problem.

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