Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Power is Out, by A Que

★★★☆☆ Average

(Post-Apocalypse) In the ruins of a China shattered by an electromagnetic pulse, five friends decide to flee their dead city in the face of an oncoming harsh winter, seeking shelter in the warmer south about which they know nothing. (12,243 words; Time: 40m)

"," by (translated by Elizabeth Hanlon, edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 137, published on .

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

Pro: From the names of the characters, we can assume this is a morality tale. If so, it’s a very dark one.

At the start, Handsome, Fortune, Innocence, Beauty, and Mediocre are a team, and they decide to go south to escape the winter. Unbeknownst to them, Fortune (who really leads them) has exhausted his food.

At the end, Fierce, Strong, Vulgar, Promiscuous and Beauty have formed a new group. Rule of the rich has been replaced by rule of the violent. Innocence is lost, replaced by Promiscuous. This is the new world.

There may be deeper meanings to it than that, but that’s all I can see.

The writing is pleasant, the narrator is amusing, and the dialogue is natural enough.

Con: It’s depressing, and it ends on a down note.

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