Saturday, April 11, 2020

Cairns, by Jason P. Burnham

[Strange Horizons]

(Ecological Dystopia) In a world dying from pollution by micro plastics, Ana struggles to protect her family, but even the food they eat is slowly killing them. (5,208 words; Time: 17m)

"," by (edited by Vanessa Rose Phin), appeared in issue 03/30/20, published on .

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

Review: 2020.196 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The story is gripping at the point little Carlos has symptoms. That’s probably the best part of it.

Microplastics are a real problem today, although the problem is arguably more the fault of consumers in just five countries than it is the big oil companies.

Con: There’s no plot at all. There’s a little setup. Then Carlos has symptoms. But it’s a false alarm. The end. The “message dump” that Ana delivers in the hospital waiting room is a low point.

This sort of hyper-polluted future was a lot more plausible 50 years ago, but it’s hard to buy these days. It doesn’t help that the core conflict in the story is a conspiracy theory: “The rich actually want to poison everyone else.”

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