Friday, April 1, 2016

Mountain, by Andy P. Smith

(SF) In a broken-down future, a woman learns of the death of her son on a mysterious mountain that once powered the world. (7,499 words)

Rating: 3, Average

"Mountain," by appeared in the May 2016 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, published , by .

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

Pro: The narrator's goal in the story is to accept her son's death and begin to mourn for him. The author does a good job of describing what it feels like to live in this world.

Con: The what-if is a little hard to swallow. Aliens left a power source that worked so well that the country (or the world?) abandoned other sources and then fell apart when it ran down. The logistics of powering everything from a single source seem insurmountable. After the failure, you'd expect a switch back to other sources, but apparently that didn't happen.

A few other things feel sloppy. She and George meet the drug dealers on the path. There's no real reason for the dealers to threaten them in the first place, but then they disappear from the story, so why were they there at all? There's a little bit of editorializing as well, e.g. "decay left by a decadent and wasteful past."

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