Saturday, May 9, 2020

Calm Face of the Storm, by Ramona Louise Wheeler

[Analog]
★★★☆☆

(Alien SF) When Bret almost dies in a storm, he finds himself in a part of the continent that holds creatures that supposedly died out ages ago. (9,369 words; Time: 31m)

Recommended By: 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)

Despite his name, Bret is an alien a lot like a giant bat, not a human.

"Calm Face of the Storm," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 05-06|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.245 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: In a way, this is a coming-of-age story. The foolish, childish Bret who flies into the storm is very different from the mature Bret who urges his father to teach the young people to fly without mechanical assistance. He gains his maturity from being away from home, learning the ways of strangers, and surviving a near-death experience. When he comes back to Mornell, it feels like he’s earned his happy ending.

The descriptions of the behavior of the twin suns makes the most sense if we assume it’s a double-star system in a mostly circular orbit in which the planet orbits in the same plane as the two stars. Further, the planet needs an axial tilt of close to 90 degrees. That way for part of the year, both suns are in the sky all the time, part of the time one or the other is visible, and part of the time is total darkness. (There’s a complication from the fact the suns revolve around each other too, but I’ll not hold that against the author; suffice it to say that, over decades, the length of the dark season should wax and wane.)

Con: I find it impossible to believe that this world has a starport, satellites, and an information network and yet no one has surveyed the whole planet.

The prose is awkward at times, and there’s one awful passage right at the end where the narrator breaks into the story and lectures us on how the world of colors is filled with darkness. Besides that, there are a few sentences that seems to contain copy/paste errors.

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