Thursday, March 15, 2018

Irregularity, by Rachel Harrison

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Military SF) Ever since Earth was attacked, it keeps observers in remote stations to watch for irregularities. Nyle finds the work so dull he almost wishes he’d see something. (7,494 words; Time: 24m)

"," by (edited by Jason Sizemore), appeared in issue 106, published on .

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

Pro: The account of Nyle’s steady mental and physical deterioration makes the ending believable. The suspicion that it’s not really Sylvie adds plenty of tension, but the story has tension throughout.

From Nyle's background, we really do want him to succeed, despite his deceit. That makes his failure much more poignant.

It’s a fascinating setting, with a stratified society and a military that’s not exactly focused on merit.

Con: : Several things don’t seem to add up from a scientific/technical perspective. For example, when the Phonoi first invaded, why did Earth have a fleet at all? And why would you bother to fortify Saturn if there was no commercial presence there? Why would the outpost send messages down a chain of stations rather than sending it directly to Earth? And why would operators have elevated security privileges? Particularly when they’re not chosen from the best and brightest. Finally, a failure at one station should not have been able to cause a system-wide failure.

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