Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Different Seas, by Alastair Reynolds

★★★★★ Nice action, powerfully emotional

(SF Action) Lilith is sole crew member on a sail-by-wire clipper ship off the coast of Chile when a big solar storm knocks out the system that controls her rudder. She ends up getting help from an unlikely source. (5,230 words; Time: 17m)

"Different Seas," by (edited by Wade Roush), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

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

Review: 2018.633 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Lilith is a bitter loner, but, as we learn, she’s got her reasons. Beyond the story of saving the ship is the story of Lilith gaining a new resolve.

The pending crash with the “raft” adds tension, which climaxes when Lilith climbs the mast to replace the missing part.

And yet the key moment in the story is when Kyleen explains how she chose to spend her last hours helping her save her ship. Of all the things Kyleen could have chosen to do with her remaining time, she used it to save Lilith’s life. And not just to save it, but to change it, because it’s clear Lilith is deeply affected by Kyleen’s advice to her.

I wondered a bit why Kyleen would choose to do this, and it occurred to me that perhaps part of it was that she wanted to come home to die. She certainly picked a beautiful place for it.

Beyond that, the science and technology in the story are all very plausible in the not-too-distant future, with the exception of human visits to Saturn.

Con: Arguably, it’s a little manipulative.

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Alastair Reynolds Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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