Saturday, June 9, 2018

Vault, by D.A. Xiaolin Spires

★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

(SF Adventure) Chenguang and her new partner find something unexpected during a survey of an abandoned world lost to pollution a long time ago. (9,784 words; Time: 32m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 141, published on .

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

Pro: Chenguang doesn’t get the payoff she wanted, but she’s satisfied she did the right thing for the alien intelligence she found. Further, from their communication with her, she believes they have a scheme for bringing the water back, which would benefit all of humanity.

Con: The story uses too many undefined terms to be enjoyable. That plus the really bad science ruined it for me.

Just to pick two  examples, the idea that humanity has an interstellar civilization, and yet it has somehow lost access to water—one of the most common substances in the universe—is absurd. Second, the “cubicles” have a temperature-based language that the translator device can’t handle, and yet somehow the cubicles understand English perfectly, since they know to signal yes/no answers to the humans’ questions.

A smaller issue is that Lukas seems to be way immature to have this job.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 141)
D.A. Xiaolin Spires Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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