Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Mozart on the Kalahari, by Steven Barnes

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(SF Adventure) Meek dreams of visiting a luxury space station, but a black teen living in poverty hasn’t got much chance of that—until a science contest offers him the chance of a free trip to it. (5,780 words; Time: 19m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Uneven

"," by (edited by Ed Finn and Joey Eschrich), appeared in , published on by .

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

Pro: It is very moving when Meek gets a position in space, even though he doesn’t win the contest.

The author shows us Meek’s talents in at least two ways: first, he really does engineer those plants to produce extra oxygen and protein, but, second, his ability to learn (when he wants to) is exceptional.

Thus we feel he really earns the place on Clarke station. It’s not just a gift from Culpepper. That makes the ending very satisfying.

Con: The writing is very uneven for some reason. The early parts of the story are heavy with infodumps, but, worse than that, the narrator is very intrusive. Once the contest gets going, the story finds its feet, but it’s very awkward up to that point.

It’s very hard to believe that Meek accidentally made himself photosynthesize or that it worked very well.

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