Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Vanguard 2.0, by Carter Scholz

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(Hard SF) In the early 2030s, Sergei works for Uber collecting trash in low-Earth orbit. He’s surprised when Uber’s boss comes up and has a special mission for him. (5,907 words; Time: 19m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

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

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

Pro: Most of the science described is spot on—to the extent that I could check it. Vanguard 1 is a real satellite, much as described in the story. Apophis is a real asteroid and really will make a close Earth flyby in 2029 and an even closer one in 2036.

Ostensibly, the story is about Sergei retrieving Vanguard 1 for Gideon Pace, but there’s a deeper message about Sergei doing something to take care of his heart and soul.

Pace clearly wants Sergei on his team or else he wouldn’t have told him so much about his plan to put nuclear weapons in orbit. Pace’s offer is attractive, but to accept it, he’ll have to sell his soul. In the last paragraph, by opening his fists, he signals to us that that’s what he’s going to do.

Con: There’s not much conflict in the story and therefore little tension. Sergei’s retrieval of the satellite is uneventful, other than the bit of debris that almost got him on the way back.

It’s hard to believe someone like Pace would tell Sergei as much as he did without being very sure in advance what the answer would be.

The excuse for sending a person rather than a drone is rather thin.

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Carter Scholz Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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