Sunday, May 8, 2016

Last of the Sharkspeakers, by Brian Trent

(Hard SF) Tacan leads his pod to capture a load of food from one of the void sharks the Tower people use for transport. They consider Tacan's people little better than animals, so getting caught would be a disaster. (10,381 words)

Rating: 2, Not Recommended

"Last of the Sharkspeakers," by appeared in the May/June 2016 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, published , by .

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

Pro: Tacan starts off trying to make life better for his people, and he never lets that idea go. By the end, he's achieved it.

Con: The science just has too many terrible errors to make this an enjoyable story. The idea that radiation would cause people to mutate into useful forms is absurd. Even if natural selection could account for the changes in Tacan's people, we'd expect them to be helpless in higher gravity, but instead they're actually more capable than the baseline humans in almost every way. They even survive for an extended time in vacuum.

The sharks and quills are both hard to buy, as is the idea that the sharks would have planned a 100% effective suicide. And, of course, a world the size of Ceres could not be hollowed out and then spun for artificial gravity; it would fly apart into pieces.

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