Thursday, November 28, 2019

Seed Vault, by Marika Bailey

[Strange Horizons]

(Lost Colony Future Fantasy) On a badly terraformed planet, a young woman sets out to find the raiding party that killed most of her village, including her family. (9,076 words; Time: 30m)

"," by (edited by Vanessa Rose Phin), appeared in issue 11/18/19, published on .

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

Review: 2019.673 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Since this is a rather difficult read, I’ll summarize the story here:

The original terraforming of planet Tiere was messed up, apparently because the planet itself resisted it. The original settlers (now “The People”) seem to have come from the Caribbean and brought their gods with them. The gods were able to interface with the planet harmoniously, and, with some help from The People, are essentially continuing the terraforming.

Somehow the paperwork back on Earth got messed up, and someone sold colonization rights to a new group of colonists, the Griyot, who arrived about ten years or so ago. Lacking access to the gods of The People, they found their land infertile, and they’re slowly dying. So a raiding party attacked the narrator’s village to try to learn how they made the land bloom.

The People have fairly high technology, including robots and communication devices. That’s not enough to protect them from the raiding party, though, and almost everyone dies. The narrator blames herself because she was away and her mom was the equivalent of a sheriff and wasted precious time trying to find her daughter.

The narrator hunts down the raiders and kills them. All but an injured boy they brought with them. She leaves him with a threat, but somehow I don’t think there’ll be any further retaliation.

It helps to know a few words of the vocabulary. Here are my best guesses.

Deuxsie: Gods
Griyot: Gray Dogs (I think)
Manicou: Possum
Red: Network (probably)
Ren Azulee: Blue Queen

Con: The story is just too much work to decipher. And the Griyot are cardboard villains. Why didn’t they just send people to talk to The People when they first landed?

The bit that describes how the terraforming felt to the planet as though the planet were alive and intelligent broke my suspension of disbelief to such an extent that it was painful reading it.

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