Sunday, July 5, 2020

Sticks and Stones, by Tom Jolly


(Exploration SF) A relativistic starship takes a detour to visit an anomaly the size of a planet with a fraction the density—a possible alien starship. (13,848 words; Time: 46m)

"Sticks and Stones," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 07-08|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.329 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: I liked the idea of resurrecting the dead alien race and then humans raising the “Cephs” as our own. I think it would have far more problems than the ones described in the story, but the result would be fun to see.

I’ll give them points for getting the relativity right. At 10 g acceleration with a flip in the middle, it does take a just a bit under one ship year (314 days) to cross 8 light years, and it takes just over 8 Earth years (8.14 to be exact).

I thought “stickthulhu” was a great name!

Con: There’s not much of an organized plot. The Beagle-4 goes off to check out the anomaly. Then has a fight with a monster. Then visits the frozen alien world. Then decides to resurrect the aliens. Then, years later, bluffs the “Guardian” ship that comes to try to steal the place.

There are too many different ideas that don’t really contribute to the plot. Like Rocinante, the intelligent fungus.

The science has problems. Hermit Cave has way too little mass to hold an atmosphere. And with so little gravity, why do the “bladdopods” need hydrogen bladders at all?

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