Thursday, May 9, 2019

This Way to Paradise, by Rati Mehrotra

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(SF Adventure) Two children and their aunt travel across the ruins of war-torn India in search of a camp where there’s food and security. But something deadly is waiting for them. (7,759 words; Time: 25m)

"This Way to Paradise," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 108, published on .

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

Review: 2019.303 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The plot is pretty solid: Top officals from India, Pakistan, and China vanished without a trace eight years ago, collapsing all three governments and leading to endless, non-nuclear war. An Indian woman and two children head toward the front on the word of a madman. They find an army base, not a paradise, but it holds an alien who presumably knows what happened to the forty million people who disappeared. Unfortunately, communicating with the alien drives people mad, but they think a child might survive it. Eleven-year-old Tara is willing to risk it to save her aunt and brother—and for the hope of finding her parents.

Her communion with the alien is well-done. We’re not surprised its people moved those millions of Earth people. Nor are we surprised they did it to prevent a nuclear war. It’s a bit of a surprise that they’re all on Mars though, but that's better than them being dead. So despite everything, it ends on a high note.

Con: The ending it a bit unsatisfying. Knowing more about what happened doesn’t really solve any of the ongoing problems. How is everyone surviving on Mars? Are they ever coming back? Will Tara, Tamar, and Anju ever rejoin their family?

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