Friday, September 7, 2018

The Kite Maker, by Brenda Peynado

★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

(Alien SF) Refugees from the destruction of their own planet, the Dragonflies struggle to find a place in a world that doesn’t welcome them. (7,026 words; Time: 23m)

"," by (edited by Ann VanderMeer), published on by .

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

Review: 2018.491 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: We eventually learn that the narrator was one of those who tried to kill all the Dragonflies when they first arrived and that this is the source of much of her guilt. It explains why she overreacts to the games her kids and the Dragonfly kid are playing together. The tragedy is that she doesn't see that the kids playing together is the only thing that offers any hope for the future.

Con: The message (don’t be mean to refugees) is worthy, but stifling. The villains are cardboard-evil. The Dragonflies are cardboard-good.

Too much in this story breaks suspension of disbelief. For example, the aliens seem to have arrived on Earth with no idea what to expect. All their ships landed at the same time; they didn’t bother to do any reconnaissance, or try to learn any human languages, or anything like that. Then all the ships landed in cities, and every single one, everywhere in the whole world, was attacked, even though they made no threatening moves. No one, in any country, even tried to talk to them until we’d killed most of them.

The bits of science included likewise make little sense. E.g. they came here because their star was turning into a red giant. In that case, they’d have had a million years or so advance notice, so you’d think they’d have planned this better. Our atmosphere is so different from theirs that their wings are chemically changed, so how can they breathe it at all? Etc.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 08/29/18)
Brenda Peynado Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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