A slightly less effective story than Kritzer’s ‘Scrap Dragon’ in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue.
The setting is an interesting one – a string offshore artificial islands set up by Americans wishing to secede from the tax and governmental burden of the mainland. And whilst there aren’t taxes, there is bonded-labour, and an issue around this is the crux of the story.
Where the story suffers is in it zipping through quite quickly, with a feel of a YA story, both due to the teenage protagonist and her issues with her dad – mind you, maybe I’m even less enamoured by stories with teen protagonists, as not only are my teen years long gone, today marks my youngest son leaving his teens behind!
After a missing person is found (quickly), it transpires that there is a mystery behind the disappearance, but no sooner has the mystery been raised than it is resolved. And the story finishes with somewhat of a non-sequiter, with the sudden appearance of a letter from the girl’s mom (the absence of her mom not being a really strong issue in the story).