Friday, June 14, 2019

Erdenweh, by Bo Balder

★★★☆☆ Average

(Colony SF) A psychologist on Nueva Esperanza investigates a plague of suicides that seemed to be connected with a hopeless desire to return to Earth—even for people who’d never been there. (6,016 words; Time: 20m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 153, published on .

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

Review: 2019.331 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is a straight-up, hard-SF, research story. Somewhere in the 22nd Century, a psychology worries that too many of her patients are killing themselves, and she wants to know why. A complicating factor is that some colonists were naturally born while others were (apparently) grown ectogenetically, and the latter (who include the protagonist) seem more resistant.

The story offers plenty of clues about what’s going on, including stories of colonies that failed because they sterilized the colonists too well and an account of just how neat and tidy the home of a deceased youth had been. Nice conclusion.

I doubt it’s intentional, but I was amused to see that “Erdenweh” is an anagram of “renewed.”

Con: If that’s the solution, why does the problem affect the animals in the zoo? Surely no one is trying too hard to keep them clean. Other than that, the solution just seems too easy.

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