Friday, July 8, 2016

A Hundred and Seventy Storms, by Aliette de Bodard

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(Space Opera; Xuya) The mindship Snow Like a Dancer and her cousin Lua struggle to survive an enormous perihelion storm on their backwater planet. (4,803 words; Time: 16m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 11, published on .

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

Pro: The primary plot is simply to survive the storm. The secondary one is to make decisions about the future. Snow encourages her cousin to make the right decision, even though it's not what she personally wants. Her encouraging Lua not to worry about her amounts to a victory over her own selfishness.

The astrodynamics work out, if we assume a very small red dwarf star (barely big enough to be a star) and a planet in a very elliptical orbit (e = 0.95), then we can get an orbital period of 98 days, so 170 orbits would be about 45 years. The period when the planet was inside the habitable zone (i.e. hotter than Earth) would only be about 24 hours, but at perihelion, it would receive almost 6 times as much heat as Earth does.

Con: The circumstances are very confusing. Is the "Orbital" in orbit around the planet? If so, why are there serious thermal problems? A sun shade should suffice. And if the Snow Like a Dancer is on the surface, why not lift the ship into orbit during the storms, using the planet itself as a shield?

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Aliette de Bodard Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I agree with the rating and the comments.

    Agree - it is not clear if the orbital is on the planet itself or in space.

    Otherwise it is a pretty decent story.

    I think this is a mining colony, otherwise what else is there for the settlers?

    The author has published 4 new stories set in the Xuya universe during the 2016 year. I've now read 3 of the 4. I personally like "A Salvaging of Ghosts" best.

    Word count of the 4 stories combined makes it approximately 24,750 words.