Andy Stewart. The New Cambrian. (Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2014)

fsf040102The issue gets off to a strong start, SF wise, with a taut, intelligent story sent in the depths of Europa.

A scientific team of 48 are exploring the depths of the moon, based in a large submarine base, with various smaller subs to explore further afield. And the story sets off at a cracking pace as the news that one of the crew has died. What Stewart does so well is getting into the head of the main character, Ty, a flawed, stressed character, and creating believable other characters. There are secrets, relationships, and revelations of various kinds as the story progresses, chipping away at his composure and his sanity.

There are no alien threats to counter, no scientific drama to resolve, just psychological pressure upon psychological pressure.

More from this issue of F&SF here, and reviews of older issues of F&SF here

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