Thursday, October 13, 2016

Everyone from Themis Sends Letters Home, by Genevieve Valentine

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(SF) The crew of the Themis colony write home about their struggles with a mission and a world that seems to be more than a little off. (9,267 words; Time: 30m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average
Recommended By: SFRevu:4 RHorton:5 JStrahan

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 121, published on .

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

Pro: Nice twist that it's all a simulation. The story told in letters is a nice device. The conclusion, that Marie got to go back into Themis after all, is amusing and yet also a little sad.

Con: There's no protagonist and really no plot to speak of, other than Benjamina's struggle to somehow do something to make herself feel better about what she did.

The science is really bad. Themis is tidally locked, so there would be no sunrise or sunset and no seasons either. Benjamina lives in California, but she likes to look at Proxima Centauri, even though it is never visible that far north.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 121)
Genevieve Valentine Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I really liked this one. Learning the world is a simulation isn't a new trope in sci-fi, but I think mixing it with the epistolary format was what really did it for me. If it was a straight narrative it would have gotten old quickly, methinks, but the switching POVs kept it just lively enough for a 4-star from me.

  2. I really liked it too. And I also think it was the extra layer of puzzling out the letters that did it.

  3. I liked this story but was puzzled by a few things.

    They were testing a virtual reality game, so how come it ended up being described as a "medical experiment" ?

    I am amazed all 3 of them were still alive after 2 years. Marie was in bad shape when she was visited in jail by Benjamina back then.