Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Necessary Illusions, by Tom Greene

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(Colony-Planet SF) When Iolus refuses demands that it become part of the empire, the imperial agents are much too smart to destroy the planet, but they’re definitely up to something. (6,705 words; Time: 22m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Strong Characters and a Strong Plot
Recommended By: RHorton:5

"Necessary Illusions," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 01-02|17, published on by .

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

Pro: This story weaves two conflicting plot lines into a harmonious whole. The empire wants Iolus intact. Ilra wants to preserve her world, but if she can’t do that, she wants to make it better.

As the story progresses, we gradually learn that the Iolans aren’t as admirable as we might have thought at the start. By the time we see how they’ve tortured the envoy, it’s hard to have much sympathy for them.

At the same time, the Empire seems more and more reasonable, so the final resolution is satisfying, even if it’s imperfect (individual freedom doesn’t seem to factor into anyone’s calculations). More importantly, Ilra grows enough to see the flaws in her own society and to choose to make a better future working with the Empire, not fighting it.

Con: Ilra isn’t a sympathetic character, nor is the Dey, so there’s no emotional charge from the resolution. The notion that the rulers have mastered a set of "mythotypes" that they use to control the population is interesting, but the story doesn’t make it believable.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 01-02|17)
Tom Greene Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

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