Monday, June 15, 2020

How Long the Shadows Cast, by Kenji Yanagawa

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(SF Drama) Shun didn’t expect to find love again. He’s still haunted by his girlfriend who died before he went to space, and he’s only staying in Tokyo a few months before he goes back, but then he meets someone special. (11,409 words; Time: 38m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 165, published on .

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

Review: 2020.310 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The strongest part of the story is the way it depicts how dead Shun was inside and how meeting Chikai brought him back to life. There’s an incredible amount of tension simply over the question of whether he’ll give up his dreams of space to stay with Chikai or if he’ll give up on a love that has made his life meaningful for a love that’s so new it could end at any moment.

And then she makes her big reveal to him. It’s cool that is works in a sort of sixth-sense way; it makes what went before make a different kind of sense. And it makes sense that the cost of being with his love again is much higher than just not getting to go back into space and meet the aliens.

Con: The ending doesn’t really tell us what he ultimately decided to do. That’s the biggest knock on this story; there’s no closure.

The action of the story must be set at least 50 years in our future, and maybe 100, yet the Tokyo in the story seems little changed from the Tokyo of today.

Just because I’ve seen this error a few times, I’ll point it out, even though it’s not material to the story: The rings of Saturn aren’t really very visible from Titan because it orbits in the ring plane, and because Titan is tidally locked, Saturn does not rise or set as seen from the surface. (Between the clouds and Titan’s distance from Saturn, I doubt it’s very impressive fromt he surface anyway.)

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Kenji Yanagawa Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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