Monday, September 30, 2019

Two Worlds Apart, by Dustin Blair Steinacker


(SF Adventure) To earn a place in the Consortium of alien species, humanity needs to accomplish a successful first-contact mission. Ana leads it but doesn’t realize just how alien the Tarshach are. (5,781 words; Time: 19m)

This story won the James White Award, which is an annual short story competition open to non-professional writers.

"Two Worlds Apart," by (edited by Andy Cox), appeared in issue 283, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.540 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The stakes are high in this story. Humanity needs to prove itself, and if this mission fails, the Tarshach are doomed to extinction.

When the Tarshach refuse Ana’s first offer, she both needs to figure out why and figure out what sort of offer might be acceptable.

Con: I really didn’t follow why the Tarshach couldn’t grasp the idea of a gift, nor why you needed a notion of sacrifice in order to understand what a gift is. Without that, the whole story collapses.

Beyond that, the science is pretty bad. A rogue planet that magically soaks up energy? So much so as to create a post-scarcity world?

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Dustin Blair Steinacker Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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