Saturday, March 31, 2018

Soul Music, by Antony Johnston

★★★☆☆ Mixed

(SF Colony) Shoska’s ex gives her a guitar for her act at the Quiet, and she buys some black-market souls to punch it up. What else can you do on an airless mining colony that’s lost its connection back to civilization? (6,984 words; Time: 23m)

"Soul Music," by (edited by Andy Cox), appeared in issue 274, published on by .

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

Background: Ariad is an airless world orbiting in a binary star system (“the bine”). The mining colony on the surface has been stranded since “the Closure,” when the Einstein-Rosen bridge that used to connect them to other star systems collapsed. “Souls” are glowing golden spheres dug from the mine. Everyone on Ariad is just marking time until someone, somehow gets it open again. The city has at least six domes (1Res, 3Darks, 4Comm, 5 Sci, 6Comm) connected by a transport system (the “loopskee”). Openers are people who believe the bridge will reopen.

Pro: To recap the plot, Shoska and Jek are an on-again, off-again couple, largely because when he gets frustrated with life he beats her. He gives her his dad’s old guitar to hide the souldust (drug made from souls) he stole from the 3Darks. When she accidentally takes some of the drug, she gets a new idea for her show. She acquires wings, fills them with the liquid soul dust, and burns it at the climax of her show. The show’s a success, she gets invited to meet the colony’s #1 musician, and she leaves Jek behind for good.

It’s quite a shock when she destroys the guitar. The sheer waste of it. Apparently it symbolizes her break with Jek.

The worldbuilding is extremely detailed, all the way down to the local slang. The characters are interesting and believable.

Con: The world is so different from ours that the story is quite confusing at the start and stays that way for too long. The only way we figure most of it out is through a long infodump in the middle.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 274)
Antony Johnston Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

Follow RSR on Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or E-mail.

No comments (may contain spoilers):

Post a Comment (comment policy)