Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Ascension, by Jerry Oltion

[Analog]
★★★★☆ Weird and Creepy but Very Impressive

(Alien SF) On a world where memories are passed when one creature eats another, a child offered to the ruler tries to prove its worthiness to be eaten. (2,500 words; Time: 08m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘RSR+1 πŸ‘STomaino+1 (Q&A)


"The Ascension," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 11-12|18, published on by .

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

Review: 2018.575 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Iffix isn’t entirely committing suicide, since by having everyone eat him, he’ll live on in all of them. Obviously not what most of us would want, but these aliens really are alien.

The best reason not to want a child ruler is lack of experience, but that clearly doesn’t apply when you can eat the previous ruler and gain his memories. Very interesting.

If the approaching vessel contains human beings, I can just imagine how upset they’ll be when they meet this culture. That might make for an interesting novel in and of itself.

Minor things of note:

“Violence is the last resort of the incompetent” was an aphorism of Salvor Hardin, a character in Asimov’s Foundation series. (Except he said “refuge,” not “resort.”)

Ο€ in base 19 (to 30 places) actually is 3.2D23982975GG3C88D5H547H80D1C82, so the kid (and thus the author) got it right. Bravo!

Con: Different race or no, a story about a ruler who has a living child brought in so he can eat it is hard to swallow.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 11-12|18)
Jerry Oltion Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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