Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Disaster Tourism, by Malka Older

★★★☆☆ Average

(SF Action/Adventure) After an earthquake, drones flown in to evaluate the damage and look for survivors start falling apart in midair. It almost looks like a virus, but what sort of virus eats metal? (6,797 words; Time: 22m)

"Disaster Tourism," by (edited by Wade Roush), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

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

Review: 2018.634 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The problem setup is great. Secret lab in new Hampshire is breeched in freak earthquake, releasing nanobots that consume metals and maybe more, but there’s a hint of at least one survivor in the zone. Should authorities try to rescue people, if there really are any to save, at the risk of unleashing a technology-destroying plague on the world?

When her superiors pooh-pooh the idea that anyone survives, we applaud Zelda’s act of sneaking a camera, microphone, and speaker into a drone to let her talk to the survivor she thinks is there. It’s a great moment when she succeeds.

Con: But then the story just falls apart. She gets let go. Weeks and months pass, but nothing much happens outside the site. We never find out what ultimately happened.

And what’s the point of the Disaster Tourism angle? It doesn’t seem to contribute anything to the story at all.

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Malka Older Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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