Monday, February 6, 2017

Rain Ship, by Chi Hui

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(Post-Human) Jin is a mercenary hired to protect archeologists investigating an ancient ship built by the extinct human race. (14,329 words; Time: 47m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average
Recommended By: RHorton:5

"," by (translated by Andy Dudak, edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 125, published on .

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

Pro: It’s got the bones of a good adventure tale. Some mystery. Some tension. Satisfying resolution.

Con: The footnotes are unwelcome infodumps. Worse, they repeat themselves. Worse yet, they’re inconsistent. For example, we’re told the Ruderans have only four fingers per hand, but then one of them “thrusted her middle finger.” Or that they only live eight years, but then the narrator talks about herself as a ten-year-old child.

The Ruderans come across as human beings with tails. They don’t seem alien at all.

The epilog that kills off Jin and Dar is disappointing.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I had somewhat more tolerance for the Ruderans being so human-like, given that their civilization was influenced so strongly by human artifacts. OTOH, I couldn't suspend disbelief for the notion that human artifacts would still exist even though enough time has passed for the continents to realign.

    1. Over 100,000,000 years. Yeah, that bothered me too. Also the idea that the Ruderans only lived 8 years and yet had developed an advanced civilization.

  2. Too much exposition. I wish the author had decided to present the situation without so much explanation or "translation into human terms" and relied on us to work it out instead.

  3. I figure the reference to 10 years old meant 10 months as earlier it's mentioned that they reckon their age in months. I wonder if that's a discrepancy between Chinese and English or if it's an inconsistency between human and Ruderan retained from the original. The middle-finger reference could be a case of getting lost in translation -- isn't that particular gesture an Americanism?

    I agree that we could have done without the "as observed by a human" framing and clunky footnotes.