Strange Horizons, May 15, 2017

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Strange Horizons, May 15, 2017

“Light, Like a Candle Flame” by Iona Sharma

Reviewed by Alexandros Zochios

The colony’s population in the new planet has grown in number and there is a need for a proper sewage system. Sara is appointed as Megistra Descendant and agrees to gather enough votes for building the sewage plant despite the fact that it will be built near her house. Light, the ship’s consciousness in flesh, partners up with her.

Author Iona Sharma has chosen a dull, mundane subject for humankind’s survival as the main plot. However, this matter is only a vessel for what matters the most: change. How afraid we are of change. How much do we cling to the current status quo. The colony’s people came from a ruined world. A world where their ancestors were wiped out. And this is what they are trying to avoid repeating.

The story makes this apparent by the colonists’ shortsightedness and their stubbornness for not allowing anything to change. Although they know that progress is a good thing, and in this case necessary, they see it as a red flag. Even Sara, who will have the sewage plant built next to her house, understands this. The colony’s citizens don’t want to take any responsibility and expect everything to work out by itself. All this makes things even more difficult for Sara. Finally, an upcoming revelation persuades her that if they want to evolve as a society they would need to leave behind their past.