Friday, January 10, 2020

The Kaleidoscope City, by Doug C. Souza

★★★☆☆ Mixed

(SF Drama) A woman brings her father to an abandoned city on Ganymede to honor his last wish. (4,503 words; Time: 15m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"The Kaleidoscope City," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 01-02|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.026 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: At once, we realize this is a one-way-trip for Lynette’s dad, and that adds both tension and poignancy to the story. It’s not clear why this city was abandoned, but it seems more that it became obsolete than that there was some technological collapse. The more we learn about the nanotech, the more advanced they seem to be.

It’s a bit of a shock to realize that Dad isn’t really there; this is just his nanotech shadow, so to speak. It’s rather sad that Lynette is willing to do this just to pretend to have some more time with her dead father. By the time we get to the real twist, there has been plenty of foreshadowing. We don’t really know quite how long ago Dad died, but Lynette has lived so long that the nanotech can no longer sustain her—long enough for New Valla to go from a vibrant city to an empty ruin. Hundreds, maybe thousands of years.

Con: Given everything else this civilization can do, I’m surprised they haven’t got a better, more stable way to handle these nanobot images. In fact, I’m surprised those images exist at all, although I guess that’s part of the what-if of the story. It’s also strange that Lynette’s visit here is so poorly planned. I get it that she wanted to die with her father, but, given the problems she had, but for sheer luck, she’d have lost him near the entrance.

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