Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Night Passage, by Alastair Reynolds

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(SF Adventure) Captain Bernsdottir wakes from hibernation with her ship stalled next to a vast alien artifact and a mutiny in progress. (14,142 words; Time: 47m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Great story with lots of tension and twists.
Recommended By: GDozois:4 RHorton:5

"Night Passage," by (edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

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

Pro: The best part of the story is the surprises. We know something is wrong when Dr. Grellet observes that it should be impossible to interrogate Magadis, but at that point there was room to suspect the doctor himself. This added tension to the trip to the abandoned ship up to the point where Struma attacked the captain.

The crew’s steady attempts to save the ship are a continual source of dashed hopes, but the final solution is breathtakingly horrible and inevitable all at the same time.

Con: The envelope story, that one passenger was finally restored who could corroborate her story, is a little strange. She’s suffered opprobrium for years despite the fact she was really a hero, and now, in her final years, she doesn’t want to be exonerated for some reason. Because her shame has become part of her? But she says it’s because she doesn’t want to give people the solace of seeing her vindicated? Why would that be a solace to them?

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Do you think a public apology would've made up for the decades of abuse she endured, not to mention, her career (what she wanted ever since she was young) as a starship captain being destroyed? Certainly not. For the disbelievers, however, it would have. It lets them off the hook.

    1. I suppose. That doesn't seem like human nature to me, though.

    2. The person Captain Bernsdottir is talking to would agree with you. Shock and disbelief that she'd react this way contrary to what you and I and others would expect. It's what I found so interesting about the story.