Galaxy’s Edge #56, May/June 2022

Galaxy’s Edge #56, May/June 2022

“Duty and the Beast” by David Gerrold

“Time, Needles, and Gravity” by Shirley Song

“Robots Don’t Cry” by Mike Resnick (reprint, not reviewed)

“The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (reprint, not reviewed)

“Prototype Solar System with Strings Attached” by Larry Hodges

“Eyes and Hands” by Candice R. Lisle

“The Badger Bride” by Angela Slatter (reprint, not reviewed)

“The Color of Thunder” by Alicia Cay

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

This issue offers a new work from an award-winning veteran author, as well as a quartet of original stories from newer writers.

The narrator of “Duty and the Beast” by David Gerrold remains on a colony planet after its population has been evacuated. Another who stayed behind follows the narrator on a quest to uncover the truth behind the evacuation.

I have been deliberately vague in this brief synopsis, because the story’s effect depends on multiple revelations from the two characters. They both know more than they admit, but neither one is aware of everything.

The author creates a far future setting full of characters who are something other than ordinary humans, as well as an alien world with an intricate ecology. Most of the narrative is full of very short sentences and paragraphs, giving it the feeling of a Hemingway story. A little of this goes a long way, and the reader is apt to feel relief when this style varies briefly.

In “Time, Needles, and Gravity” by Shirley Song, a woman journeys back in time and saves a man from drowning. The identity of the man is the main point of this story, and the reader is likely to predict it before it is revealed. There is not much else to this very light piece than the twist ending.

“Prototype Solar System with Strings Attached” by Larry Hodges is another featherweight tale. An exasperated angel makes multiple corrections in the construction of the solar system in order to please a fussy God. The main source of humor in this bagatelle is the contrast between a farcical version of Genesis and modern physics. Readers may be reminded of Robert Sheckley’s satiric story “Budget Planet.”

In “Eyes and Hands” by Candice R. Lisle, two robots work in a salvage yard on Mars. Despite the fact that one loses its visual sensors and the other its manipulating limbs in an explosion, they work together to defeat killers from obtaining a valuable treasure.

The robots are appealing characters, and the reader is sure to admire the way they carry on despite their injuries. The plot has an old-fashioned, pulp magazine feeling to it, with its space pirates and a fabulous gem as the prize.

“The Color of Thunder” by Alicia Cay takes place in a fantasy world where flying beings appear to people who have magical powers. The main character is the daughter of a man who blames one of these creatures for the death of his son. He captures it, cuts off its wings, and prepares to kill it. The daughter secretly has the ability to perceive emotions as colors. She faces the dilemma of proving the being innocent of the killing, while facing life as an outcast if she reveals her hidden talent.

The story has strong emotional appeal, and the protagonist’s special power allows for many beautiful descriptions. The characters are richly developed, and the conclusion offers hope, but only at a realistic cost.

Victoria Silverwolf ate some miniature vegan corn dogs tonight.