Sunday, June 24, 2018

Until We Are Utterly Destroyed, by Frank Wu

★★★☆☆ Mixed

(SF Adventure) Asha recounts how her attempt to understand her people’s gods has led to such terrible destruction and the loss of all she cared about. (7,618 words; Time: 25m)

"Until We Are Utterly Destroyed," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 07-08|18, published on by .

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

Pro: The alien characters are the best part of this story. They’re convincingly alien, yet they’re real enough to make us care about them. When the victor priest dies in the oxygen atmosphere, it’s shocking and upsetting.

The way Kailo’s calm, unshakable faith leads him to make up excuses to explain any contradiction of his beliefs rings true, as does his transformation when he finally realizes how wrong it all was. Most of the adverse consequences derive directly from Shai’s destruction of her lover’s faith.

The alien culture, based on hunting and killing, makes coherent sense, horrible as it is.

Con: The science makes no sense at all. You wouldn’t choose animals to create oxygen from CO2 since it’s an endothermic reaction. Even if you did, you’d hardly want to engineer them to be intelligent. Even if you did, evolution doesn’t have momentum; there’s no reason for the engineered creatures to get bigger and more intelligent with each new generation.

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