Sunday, June 14, 2020

The Tourist, by Alex Sherman

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(SF Horror) A student comes to a remote asteroid to study the “squatters,” genetically modified humans have created a society based on naked mole rats. (5,028 words; Time: 16m)

"," by (edited by Ann VanderMeer), published on by .

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

Review: 2020.306 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is the story of how Chocky, a “mole,” finds a way to get back to “the virgin” before she dies from neglect. He meets a “tourist,” a student come from civilization to study the Squatters, and finds a way to use the tourist to make his way home.

The heart of the story is the descriptions of the Squatter society. The people modified with mole-rat genes to be more resistant to radiation and low pressure. Who move around comfortably in the dark.

Con: The tourist is kind of an ignorant jerk, but Chocky is a monster. At the start of the story, when the company representative talks about what Squatters are like, it sounds like she’s just being racist. By the end, it seems she was too kind.

Genetic modifications can only do so much. If the tourist died in just seconds from lack of oxygen, it’s not likely any amount of modification would have been enough.

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