SCI FICTION, June 8, 2005

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"Diamond Girls" by Louise Marley

ImageThis week, SCI FICTION brings us Louise Marley’s “Diamond Girls,” about the first two women in major league baseball. One is hated because her mother genetically modified her, the other loved because her mother didn’t.

Ricky Arendsen has a killer fastball and a signature splitter. Of course, that’s only because her mother introduced a retrovirus to the womb just days after Ricky was conceived. And, for her mother’s actions, Ricky is reviled, even though she is good enough that the team really can’t get rid of her. After all, they have to take talent where they find it. But she has lost her last three games. One more and it’s the end of her major league career. If she gets sent down to the minors, no one will ever take the risk of bringing her back up.

Grace Everett, on the other hand, was only brought up to fill the bleachers. The Natural, as they have nicknamed her, to face the Lab Rat. Two women in the majors. One liked just because she isn’t the other.

We follow the pair as the game is played. It’s a mundane game, made interesting only because of the featured players. In the end, Arendsen pulls the game out; she gets the win. And it’s probably the end of Everett’s run with the team that brought her up. After all, she was just a publicity stunt. The women make a connection, have pleasant words. Arendsen offers Everett encouragement.  

While Marley’s writing is crisp, I was underwhelmed with the story.  It’s just another sports story, for all that the main character is a genetically modified anomaly. And a pretty standard sports story at that. If you like this kind of story, by all means read “Diamond Girls.” But don’t expect any twists or surprises. You know the premise, and the story exists only to serve it.