Monday, February 4, 2019

The Final Ascent, by Ian Creasey

★★★★★ Fascinating Concept, Well-Developed

(Future Fantasy) Ardissians have a special gland that lets them survive death as “ghosts.” Lucian is dying, and Katherine thinks she can implant the gland so he can survive his own death. (9,865 words; Time: 32m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 149, published on .

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

Review: 2019.086 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The plot has many threads to it. At the outermost level, it’s about Lucien and Katherine reconciling with each other. It’s also about Katherine’s desire to prove her theory about using the glands to give humans an afterlife. Arnil wants to make his settlement at Mallarn successful and to overturn the traditional ways. And even Orlind wants to escape his exile. All of these threads come together beautifully.

Lucien is a nice guy at heart. Yes, part of his reason for educating the natives at Mallarn is to spare himself from boredom, but he genuinely cares for them too. Katherine is a little too work-focused, but it’s easy to see what they see in each other.

The star attraction of the story, of course, is the ghostly afterlife and the very practical way Lucien goes about dealing with it.

The occasional comic relief is well done as well.

Con: Although the story has a scientific veneer, I decided to class it as “future fantasy” because the whole process works like magic and other than Lucien’s sessions with Xavier, they never treat it scientifically.

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Ian Creasey Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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