Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Open and Shut, by Alastair Reynolds

★★★☆☆ Average

(SF Adventure; Prefect Dreyfus) Dreyfus explains why the Chertoff “lockdown” has affected him so much. He put it in place 20 years ago, he inspected it three weeks ago, and he hasn’t been the same since. (4,017 words; Time: 13m)

Although this is set in Reynold's "Revelation Space" universe, no familiarity with those stories is required at all.

"," by , appeared in issue 01/05/18, published on by .

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

Pro: This is a literary plot, not an action plot, so the only change is Dreyfus’s attitude toward his circumstances. We’re told up front that he’s very reserved, but even through his reserved, professional delivery, we can see how horrified he is at the consequences of what he’s done. By the end, he’s at peace with himself.

Con: Collective punishment is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, and for good reason. The crudeness of the penalty (people near the docks could escape, no matter how culpable; innocent visitors too far from the docks could not) makes it unworthy of a civilized society. It’s impossible to see Dreyfus as a hero for having done this, and his eventual acceptance of what he’s done leaves a sour taste.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Is the whole story online at that link or is it an excerpt? Because that looks like a short story, not a novella.

    1. You're right, it's a short story. The Gollancz web site has some sort of bug that causes a copy/paste attempt to fill up with junk. Thanks for pointing it out!