Friday, June 14, 2019

The Painter of Trees, by Suzanne Palmer

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Colony SF) The human terraformers didn’t realize there was native intelligence until it was too late to save them. Now it’s just a question of what to do with the time that remains. (4,258 words; Time: 14m)

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

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

Review: 2019.330 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: In this story, the alien race causing an ecological catastrophe is us. The little reserve where the last natives live is not just all that’s left of the native intelligence, it’s all that’s left of the original ecosystem.

It’s not unrealistic that a) ecosystems on alien worlds might be so hostile to human life that we’d eradicate them and b) it’s so hard to find suitable worlds that we’d routinely do this kind of thing.

Predictably, in the end, essentially nothing is saved. Realistically, it wouldn’t have mattered much if it were. Everything that made the remembrance trees special went away with the last of their creators.

Con: I found Motas’s behavior a little hard to believe. In private, he acts like the trees and the natives matter to him, but in public he acts against his own self-interest. I’m also surprised that the record-keeping is so poor that no one knows he’s been making frequent visits.

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