Strange Horizons, December 12 & 19, 2011
"Ash and Dust" by Jennifer Mason-Black
Reviewed by Chuck Rothman
Strange Horizons ended up featuring only two stories in December (the second in two parts), Jennifer Mason-Black's "Ash and Dust." It's set in a parched and barren Earth, where most of the population has migrated to other worlds, and those left behind cluster near the spaceport, hoping to be able to get onto one of the last ships. Jaz is a midwife, reminiscing about how this came to be, and trying to help with the inevitable births and disappointments. I was afraid this would be another wallowing in futility, but the story implies that, even with all this, there is cause for hope. The characters and situations are vivid and well drawn and the story worth reading carefully.
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