Thursday, May 26, 2016

Deathlight, by Mari Ness

(SF) Stranded in a nebula, Els and Dun struggle to survive as their remaining fuel gradually runs out. But they're not alone in the nebula. (5,660 words)

Rating: 3, Unremarkable

"," by appeared in the May 2016 issue of Lightspeed Magazine (Issue 72), published .

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

Pro: They do escape the nebula. Els's sacrifice of her fingers apparently communicates their plight to the alien, who diverts enough resources to save them.

Con: Or so I think. The ending it a bit confusing. It talks about sending a broadcast that there's a million-to-one chance of someone receiving, which makes it sound like they're dying, but it also mentions them leaving the deathlight (and elsewhere mentions that Els would later be drunk at a bar asking herself questions).

The physics seems a bit off. First, why is their vessel getting so cold so fast? It's surrounded by vacuum, after all. The energy to keep it warm should be tiny. Second, a nebula is very large. The odds that they just happened on a spaceship seem very, very low. And if they really did escape, what's all this talk about leaving the alien alone? I'd expect a followup visit from a big science team ASAP.

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