Thursday, November 2, 2017

Retrieval, by Suzanne Walker

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(SF Adventure) Riva vows to find the spirit of his dead father, lost in space somewhere, and lay him to rest on their home planet with the gods of their ancestors. (3,687 words; Time: 12m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 134, published on .

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

Pro: Riva’s goal is to find and return his father’s spirit, and that he manages, but, as a bonus, his people’s gods rise up at the outrage and mount an attack on the cruel and tyrannical Protectorate.

Con: For all of this, we never really learn anything about Riva or Ferrier. They’re both flat characters, and neither engages our emotions.

Notes: The only clue to Riva’s gender is that he says that he “looked like my father” and we later learn that his father had a beard.

Even though ghosts and gods are involved in the story, I’m classing it “SF” because the heroes use technology to manage them, not magic spells.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Interesting premise and world-building. Although I would have liked to learn more about Riva and his relationship with both his father and Ferrier.

    Like you, I think Riva is male. I didn't remember the reference to the father having a beard. But I figured being that worried about your resemblance would imply same sex. I did keep wanting to think of him as female though. I notice most reviewers assume female. Is it the name? Could be a surname -- Ferrier sounds like a surname. Is it the female author? Female mentor/teacher?

    1. Figuring out the gender of a character in a first-person story can be tricky. It's hard to tell when the author is trying to make a point (e.g. gender shouldn't matter) vs. just making a mistake (e.g. edited something out by accident).