Friday, September 6, 2019

Trespass, by Tony Ballantyne

★★★★☆ Clever world, exciting plot

(Colony SF) Armstrong hunts an old friend who’s been bringing forbidden alien tech into the Classical Zone on planet Fraxinus. (7,769 words; Time: 25m)

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

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

Review: 2019.468 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This story gets off to a fast start, and it never slows down. The setting is great: a universe where there’s lot of powerful alien tech, but there are large “Classical Zones” where there’s no tech allowed except what humans understand. People in the Superluminal Zone may have better stuff, but they don’t understand it, so they make no advances, other than what people discover in ruins left by the aliens.

Armstrong’s pursuit of Poul is interesting in a couple of ways. First, there’s the question of whether Poul really is the bad guy. There are plenty of hints he might be, but it’s plausible (for a while) that he might not be. The description of how the zero-momentum suit feels to operate was great fun, and, of course, the big shootout at the top of the World Tree was pure Hard SF.

I hope there are more stories in this series!

Side Note: When Nailah tells Poul, “Spierdalaj,” that’s Polish for “fuck you.”

Con: Because it is so short, there’s lots that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Like who is “Craig?” And why is a wooden AI the founder of “The Human Way?”

Although I really liked Armstrong, there’s not much character development of him or anyone else.

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