Monday, December 4, 2017

Falling in Love with Martians and Machines, by Josh Pearce

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(Near-Future SF) Chromium Jim and Babe work their way north to Alaska by winning rocket-powered drag races along the way. (8,363 words; Time: 27m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 135, published on .

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

Pro: The plot is not just about Jim getting the money to go to Alaska; it’s also about Babe finding the strength to leave Jim and have her own life. One can even argue that it’s the tragedy of Chromium Jim, who couldn’t turn down a challenge even when he had nothing to gain and everything to lose.

There’s plenty of excitement in the racing scenes, especially since Jim plays it so close to the edge.

Con: The what-if is impossible to swallow. “What if they tried replacing people’s blood with cryogenic rocket fuel and it magically turned their brains into supercomputers?” This alone makes it impossible to recommend the story.

It’s also impossible to believe that he could afford all this equipment and fuel and yet couldn’t afford a plane ticket to Alaska. You'd think he'd get there a whole lot faster if he just sold his rig.

The folks at the end who show up to take Babe away seem to come out of nowhere. It's almost a deus ex machina ending.

Babe is a victim for most of the story, which makes her a poor protagonist; Jim is the real protagonist, but he's a very unlikable protagonist, particularly given the way he treats her.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 135)
Josh Pearce Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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