Jessica Barber and Sara Saab. Panhumanism : Hope and Pragmatics. (Clarkesworld Magazine, #132 September 2017).

Read in The Year’s Best Science Fiction Thirty Fifth Annual Collection (Dozois, 2018).

Online here so go read it.

I liked Saab’s ‘Rush Down, Roar Gently’ from Interzone three years back. That was set in a near-future water-inundated Beirut. She rings the changes here with Barber, positing a near-future Beirut in a planet suffering desperate water shortages.

It’s a touching story, with a very strong sense of place, and of the people populating it. We follow the careers of Anil and Mani, who first meet in a public shower, where the water is restricted to a gentle misting. It’s also love story, unrequited for a long time, and even when requited, the pair’s path cross only rarely.

The tone of the story is uplifting, in showing a society that is working to redress the climate change, and a society were there is gender and partner fluidity, and it’s altogether a nicer society than you tend to get in SF.

BTW I do miss being able to get Clarkesworld Magazine via Print on Demand via Amazon UK. Handsome covers in a nicely constructed volume, with great fiction in it.

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