Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Chasing the Start, by Evan Marcroft

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[Strange Horizons]
★★★☆☆ Average

(SF Sports) Sa races in dangerous places throughout time and space, but she’s getting old, the challengers are ruthless, and there are a lot of ways to get hurt in this sport. (8,455 words; Time: 28m)

"," by (edited by Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde), appeared in issue 07/09/18, published on .

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

Pro: We finally learn that she keeps running because, early in her career, she saw an older version of herself and was inspired to keep going. Now she wants to continue until she sees that earlier version of herself, making the circle complete. That accomplished, she can retire in peace, feeling she’s finally earned it.

The racing itself provides lots of tension, and the backgrounds are colorful.

Not sure if this is deliberate, but it’s cute that Sa Segoko’s opponent, J’ba Fofi, is called “running spider,” but Segoko, actually means “spider” in Tswana.

Con: The ending violates the logic we were given for time travel in this universe. We were told that it’s a multiverse “time is a hydra” and that trips back in time create alternate universes but do not affect the main “strand” that the runners came from. Accordingly, there shouldn’t be any “debt” for Sa to pay; the universe won’t end if she never sees/helps a struggling copy of herself.

Another problem is that Sa is hard to relate to. I found myself rooting for her to fail just so she’d take the retirement she so clearly needs. The long speech from J’ba Fofi, telling Sa that she knows why she runs was tedious and didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already suspect.

The story is riddled with simple errors (e.g. missing or extra words) that should have been caught by the copy editor. Also, Kouroi is plural, not singular.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 07/09/18)
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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Evan Marcroft here. Fun fact, I actually didn’t realize Segokgo meant spider until the story was published. I’m glad you dug so deep into this story. I’m incredibly proud.

    1. "I have always depended on the kindness of spiders." :-)

      It was a fun little story. I look forward to your next one. And thanks for dropping by. It's always great to see authors post here.