Allen M. Steele. The Children of Gal. (Asimovs, April/May 2015)

asimovs150405Another (concluding?) installment in Steele’s ‘Arkwright’ series, which hasn’t grabbed me at all – read my comments on preceding stories here, here, and here. But it appears Tor.com like the stories enough to be putting out a novelisation next year.

This story is introduced as ‘very much a stand alone’ by editor Sheila Williams, but I have to disagree!

It starts out quite interesting, with a ‘heretical’ mother being cast out of her community. They’re clearly descended from the Arkwright’s of earlier stories (due to their names) but they are quite different in terms of physiology, and there are some strange religious beliefs against which the mother has transgressed. So the first few pages explore this, her son’s response to it, and the aftermath.

The second half then sees a lot being revealed to the son, and to the reader, in a fairly long-winded second half of the story where humans drop down to the community and take the son into orbit, and explain – in very great detail (and I mean very great detail) exactly what has happened, how he and his community have descended from baseline humans, how their religious beliefs have come about, and how he is directly descended from an earlier character.

It just feels to me like the very latter series of Dallas, mining out every last drop of oil in a not very exciting fashion. If you were glued to Dallas, and enjoy this kind of multi-generational planetary exploration story (I don’t, and didn’t enjoy Steele’s previous ‘Coyote’ series, although that got a book series contract) then you might well have got all emotional at the end, but not me….

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