Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Proving Ground, by Alec Nevala-Lee

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(Hard SF) Haley hopes the "colony" on Bikini island will let her people survive sea-level rise, but a problem with local birds presents an unexpected threat. (17,649 words; Time: 58m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Exciting Hard-Science Adventure
Recommended By: RHorton:5

"The Proving Ground," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 01-02|17, published on by .

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

Map of Bikini Atoll
Pro: Haley's goal of figuring out what's happening with the birds quickly turns into a struggle just to stay alive. By the end, all of our questions are answered, and we're gratified to know that she has not given up on her dream.

During the course of the story, we see the colony through her eyes and we understand just how much it means to her. We feel her pain at each successive stage of destruction.

The story does a good job of foreshadowing. For example, there's a discussion about seeding the ocean with iron long before we find out that it's really happening.

Although the story refers to the famous novelette, "The Birds," by Daphne du Maurier, in this story we actually learn what's causing the birds' strange behavior.

Con: Except for Haley, the characters are pretty two-dimensional.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 01-02|17)
Alec Nevala-Lee Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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