Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Advantages, by Louise Marley

(Sports SF) At the 2144 Olympics, hosted by the thriving space colonies who survived Earth, Zory aims to win despite her lack of augments. (7,200 words; Time: 24m)

Rating: ★★★★☆, Recommended

"Advantages," by (edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt), appeared in Galactic Games (RSR review), published on by .

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

Pro: At first, she wants to win, but once her mom shows up, she only wants to escape. The story builds tension right up to that vault jump, which we have every reason to believe she might not survive. The first part the the story emphasizes her isolation, her alienation from the other contestants, and the hopelessness of her attempt to win this.

What makes this story exceptional, though, is the aftermath, when the officials disqualify her because the games are rigged, and even though the other athletes stand up for her so she can at least go home, they can't reverse the disqualification. But they don't need to. By standing up for her, they end her isolation and break through her alienation at one stroke, and their recognition of her win is enough for her.

In the end, Zory won the victory she personally needed, and she goes home a winner.

Con: Although 3753 Cruithne is a real asteroid, it's hard to believe a 5 km-diameter rock would ever have a settlement, and "pockets of low gravity" makes no sense at all.

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