Friday, June 2, 2017

Neptune's Trident, by Nina Allan

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(Post-Apocalypse) The world is gradually being destroyed by what seems like an alien plague that attacks people and software alike. Caitlin lives in a seaside Scottish town, nursing her dying lover. (14,011 words; Time: 46m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 129, published on .

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

Pro: The way the plague destroyed civilization first by attacking software and then by attacking individuals is interesting. The hints that it’s really caused by us merging with an alternate reality are tantalizing.

We learn a lot about Caitlin from her tender care for Steph, from her sad fantasies that her brother is somehow still alive, and from the toy she secretly gave to the little child. Caitlin is a good person, and we're rooting for her throughout the story.

Con: There’s no plot. Caitlin has no plans other than to care for Steph, and when Steph dies, she just walks away. Every possible source of tension fizzles out: the preacher, the other reality, Morrie’s submarine, etc. There are lots of interesting pieces in this story, but they never come together.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. In some ways this feels more like the tone of a mild horror story, or perhaps something by John Windham. It's more of a lengthy vignette than a full story. I liked the ideas but Allen seems to like to take a leisurely route towards developing her stories, and so it felt a bit incomplete to me.

  2. I agree with the rating and the review, and the above 2 comments as well.

    It read like "a few months in a small coastal town after the government has collapsed" slice of life type story.

    I've read stories like this in English Literature, the literature that comes out of the United Kingdom.