Friday, September 6, 2019

News From an Alien World, by Sean Vivier


(SETI) An American refugee in Japan helps the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, but things are falling apart for him here on Earth. (2,950 words; Time: 09m)

"News From an Alien World," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 09-10|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.476 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: There’s material for a good story here, both in the American refugee trying to make things work in Japan and the team studying a dying alien civilization. Points to the author for not giving any details about how America died; it would only have been a distraction.

Con: Too many elements of the scientific part of the story break suspension of disbelief. The parts with Hiro’s family are just a sideshow.

Hiro’s prediction of unrest in the Kappa civilization is just too much based on too little info, and the fact that it’s confirmed just one day later is beyond belief. Indeed, the amount of progress in figuring out the Kapa’s language was absurd for just one day. It would be absurd for a whole year of study.

The idea of interpreting a signal as television is a bit naΓ―ve. It’s not like they’d be using any TV standard we used here on Earth. On the other hand, any TV signal would almost certainly be clearly artificial even before we decoded it.

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