Friday, September 6, 2019

Molecular Rage, by Marie Bilodeau

★★★★★ An unlikely hero in a unique setting

(Alien SF) When Stan is late to work too many times, his mate kicks him out of the nest, but he’s determined to prove it’s a bug in the teleportation system. (6,433 words; Time: 21m)

"Molecular Rage," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 09-10|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.484 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Stan has his problems, but he’s right that something is seriously wrong. He may have trouble getting to work on time, but he’s a brilliant teleportation scheduler, and his boss really should have listened to him.

One of the pleasures of the story is the way Stan’s experiences in different parts of the colony dovetail with his discoveries about the mysterious priority beam. At each step, we learn new things about the colony and the technology even as he learns more about what’s going on.

Even though Stan seems to have a lot of trouble getting along with people, he really does care about people. He loved his mate, and he still pines for her. He loved his daughter, Lorna, and he’s crushed when the soldiers brutalize her—and he never sees her again. It’s hard not to come to like Stan, and that makes his sacrifices poignant.

Ultimately, Stan cares enough about the others in the colony that he sacrifices himself to buy them a couple of centuries to figure out what to do about what must be some sort of frozen nuclear explosion that’s trapped in the teleportation beams.

And he even lives long enough to know that he succeeded, that his sacrifice paid off. In the end, that has to be enough.

Con: Stan is the only developed character in the story.

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