Derek Kunsken. Pollen from a Future Harvest. (Asimovs July 2015)

asimovs1508Kunsken has a string of strong stories in which he has been willing to get into some very alien mindsets, and follows suit with this, the longest story in the issue, which closes the printed version.

He manages to blend a lot : ‘time travel’, bereavement, betrayal, a vegetable-based life form, a mystery, a black female lead, and much more. He evens manages to get some poetry in. And politics. And a non-standard non-binary marriage. And auditors. Crikey, he even fits the French in – how audacious is that!

There’s a tiny bit of info-dumping, and you have to pay close attention to some of the science, but these are minor quibbles. Recently bereaved, Major Chenesai Okonkwo has to carry out an audit of the scientific base where her husband died. Or was perhaps murdered. She comes with the ‘junior’ husband from the previously troilistic marriage, and comes up against….

Well, no spoilers from me. Except the story to show up in a Year’s Best anthology or two. Because Kunsken fits in just so much ‘extra’ into the story, when a more bog standard approach would have been a simple ‘scientist solves riddle’ story, I’m going to put it forward for the Best SF Short Story Award 2015.

More from this issue here.

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