Friday, March 13, 2020

Leave-Taking, by M.L. Clark


(Space Opera; The Partnership) Leni leaves his girlfriend a lengthy message explaining the consequences of an unauthorized first contact he made with one of the species humans share Drasti Prime with. (9,672 words; Time: 32m)

This is a prequel to “To Catch All Sorts of Flying Things,” and this one will make more sense if you read that one first, since it explains the elements of the world much better.

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 162, published on .

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

Review: 2020.132 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: In the course of Leni’s ramblings we end up learning quite a lot about him, his girlfriend, the colony, etc. For example, she’s been badly hurt and is in the equivalent of a hospital getting much of her body rebuilt.

The colony itself is fascinating, what with five different species contending with each other—some of which are very alien indeed. We never really learn what the Partnership is all about, but it’s not central to this story anyway. (Read the other story in the series if you want to know more.)

So the central point is that Leni had this unauthorized first contact with the Feru while he was in the middle of grief over a breakup with Silv, and as a side-effect, part of the Feru was infected with Leni’s guilt to the point where the rest of the Feru isolated it and sent it to deal with Leni. But “dealing with him” meant showing him that the source of his pain was that he didn’t belong on Drasti Prime. That he should go home. And, sure enough, by the end we realize we’ve read a lengthy goodbye letter.

Con: Leni is funny at first, but he’s a sniveling whiner, and listening to him gets old fast. Halfway through I was resentful every time he went on another tangent.

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M.L. Clark Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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