Wednesday, March 11, 2020

One Basket, by C.C. Finlay

[Analog]
★★☆☆☆

(Hard SF) On a struggling colony in the Trojan Asteroids, young Alaya’s family needs more water than their ration allows, and her grandmother has a plan to get more. (7,644 words; Time: 25m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘STomaino+1 (Q&A)


"," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 03-04|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.097 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The best part of this story is the way it develops the relationship between Alaya and her grandmother and the way Alaya earns the old woman’s respect through her quick acting. There’s plenty of thrills and excitement as they work together to complete the dangerous, clandestine mission.

Con: This is a hard-SF story with bad science. First, water is a rock at that distance from the sun, and it’s plentiful. The whole idea that the colony has a water shortage is absurd. It’s like the Sahara having a sand shortage.

Second, if you rotated an asteroid fast enough to generate meaningful amounts of artificial gravity, it would fly apart, and the energy requirement just to spin it up would be colossal—a civilization able to manage energy flows of that magnitude would have no problems processing materials.

Third, from the surface of a rotating asteroid (at least near the regions where the artificial gravity was meaningful), the force would be away from the asteroid, and would far exceed the escape velocity. So Alaya and her grandmother would need to stay clipped to avoid being thrown into space. So would the space cockroaches and the balls of water they were creating. And throwing an object in any direction would result in that object leaving the asteroid forever. Yes, there’s a difference between spinward and anti-spinward motion, but it’s not enough.

Another point is that it’s ridiculous to suggest that the supply ship might be a few weeks or might be a few months away. There’s no way they wouldn’t know the arrival to the minute—assuming it had been launched at all.

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C.C. Finlay Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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