Allen M. Steele. Alive and Well, A Long Way from Anywhere. (Asimovs July 2012)

The editorial introduction explains how the recent discovery of 2010 TK7 gave Steele the missing piece of a puzzle for his ‘Near Space’ series. If I was being cruel I’d say that that jigsaw was tucked away in the attic, and for good reason…

The Near Space series is, according to Wikipedia a series of novels from the 1990s. This lengthy story suffers in comparison to the previous story I’ve just read, Catherynne M. Valente’s ‘Silently and Very Fast’, an inventive, rich, deep etc story. This feels more like a Reader’s Digest condensation of an Analog novella.

‘Show, don’t tell’ is advice given about writing fiction, but here it is mostly tell, as the protagonist, responsible for the PR for a billionaire, describes in great detail the history of their relationship, and the lengthy trip to the asteroid made by said billionaire. The billionaire is eccentric – he wears dark turtleneck sweaters and is a vegetarian (remind you of anyone?) and reclusive (obsessive about cleanliness, ditto?). And as in two other Steele stories I’ve read, the question of sanity and ‘madness’ appears again.

All in all, a story I’d expect to see in Analog, but way below the standard I’d expect to see in Asimovs.

One thought on “Allen M. Steele. Alive and Well, A Long Way from Anywhere. (Asimovs July 2012)

  1. I haven’t cracked into this issue and until recently hadn’t ever read any of Steele’s work, but I just finished his new YA novel, Apollo’s Outcasts, and it is fantastic. A loving homage to the juvenile fiction of Robert A. Heinlein. Well worth adding to you list of stories to read.

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