Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Tinker's Damnation, by Jerry Oltion

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(SF Colony) When the nanofab failed seventeen years ago, it condemned the colony to slow decline as their high tech wore out and they switched to iron-age methods. Young Henry wants to fix it and be a hero. (4,912 words; Time: 16m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Interesting, Moving, and Surprising

"A Tinker's Damnation," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 09-10|17, published on by .

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

Pro: Henry wants to fix the nanofab, and that’s what he does. He also wants to win Pamela, and it sure looks like he has. And when the nanofab spits out that ebook, it's a big thrill.

The big conflict between the new and the old settlers comes as a bit of a surprise, but not enormously so. It makes sense that Neil didn’t make that decision on his own, and it’s even reasonable that he didn’t want to die without having given the young people at least a chance to be involved in the decision.

More important, the story does an excellent job of conveying just how desperate their situation is, and yet still letting us see where the old settlers were coming from. There are no real villains in this story, and there are no easy answers either.

It’s a nice touch that the story tells us how Henry is pleased with the effect blacksmithing has on his body so that we’ll know that the physical confrontation between him and the captain will be no contest.

The big surprise, of course, is that Henry doesn’t choose to use the nanofab to grab power, nor does he meekly defer to the old crew nor even give in to what Pamela would want. He tells the whole story to everyone—no more secrets—and he calls for a vote.

Con: Henry’s a little too polished in his speech at the end. He never seemed that slick up to that point.

Given that Neil knew that others (including the captain) knew about the nanofab, why did he think it was so urgent to tell Henry? The others were planning to include him anyway, so why jump the gun on them?

One suspects this vote is going to be very one-sided.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 09-10|17)
Jerry Oltion Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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