Sunday, May 17, 2020

Eyes of the Forest, by Ray Nayler

★★★★★ Plenty of excitement in a beautiful, deadly setting.

(SF Adventure) To become a Wayfarer, Sedef needs to master the dangers of the forest on her planet, which kills anything that doesn’t glow. And she has to survive an emergency run, seven hours each way, alone. (5,667 words; Time: 18m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘RHorton.r+1 πŸ‘STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"Eyes of the Forest," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 05-06|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.283 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: To a degree, this is a coming of age story, but the most outstanding thing about it is the tension, in one scene after another. In light of that, the pacing is extraordinary, as the tension lightens up just enough to insert flashbacks that fill us in on what we need to know about the dangers of the forest. It never descends to infodumps; everything it tells us is something we wanted to know.

Sedef’s desire to become a Wayfarer and be accepted as one is very strong. It comes through most of her thoughts and actions. But when the situation is desperate, she doesn’t think, she just acts, and that, more than anything, shows us that she’s achieved her goal.

The icing on the cake is when Mauled by Mistake tells her she’ll get a given name. It’s going to be something like “Ran naked in the dark” but it shows that she’s made it.

Con: I’m not sure I believe you could have an ecosystem where there were lots of scavengers but no predators. It’s also hard to believe the entire planet is covered by this forest.

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