Saturday, February 11, 2017

Innumerable Glimmering Lights, by Rich Larson

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(SF) Four Warm Currents leads a project to drill through the ice at the Roof of the World to finally discover what’s on the other side, but the closer he gets, the more opposition there is. (6,331 words; Time: 21m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Inventive and Exciting
Recommended By: GDozois:5 RHorton:5

"Innumerable Glimmering Lights," by (edited by Mike Allen), appeared in issue 5, published on by .

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

Larson does a wonderful job of making Four Warm Currents seem like a real person to us. We care about Four Warm Currents and the two mates who will grieve. And yet we cheer the victory, and that final vision of the stars, inspiring Four Warm Currents to ask that a child be named “Innumerable Glimmering Lights.”

The story does a very credible job of depicting the ignorance and superstition of the people who oppose the project, as well as the fact that their concerns are not entirely irrational. For all they know, opening a hole could have catastrophic consequences. There’s also good foreshadowing that the guards themselves may not be trustable.

More impressive, the character of Nine Brittle Spines, the politician, is not two-dimensional. Nine Brittle Spines may be cynical, but still has concerns for the safety of Four Warm Currents, including provisions to move all three of them to a safe place when the project is shut down.

So all the participants are believable. All seem to be acting based on their own ideas of “the right thing to do.” Even the ending; given that the project is so close to the end of the ice, it’s not surprising that Four Warm Currents is willing to risk its life to get across those few remaining feet.

Taken together, it makes the victory seem worthwhile, despite the heavy cost of it.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Best story of 2016 for me thus far.

  2. Reminds me of that one Issac Asimov novel with the swimming aliens