Neal Asher. Memories of Earth. (Asimovs October/November 2013)

asimovs131011I felt a bit sorry for myself this afternoon, having been stung at the very back of my mouth (bang on my uvula if you want the exact location) by a bee which I hit at about a combined speed of 30mph whilst cycling. The sting was instant and the pain shot through my mouth and (it felt like) out through my ears. So, with ibuprofren and piritin inside me, an afternoon that was scheduled to be spent in the sun at a beer festival in the sunshine was spent indoors in the front room reading some short SF.

All of which is by way of a preamble to say that I would have been disinclined to like anything I read, but I found Asher’s story a clever one indeed. The set up is quick (it’s a shorter short story) and the main character interesting – due to an alien attack, he’s left grounded planetside, no longer connected to the vast web of knowledge and technical support that gave him what was tantamount to godhood when up is space.

He has one task to finish, as his previously virtually immortal body is now struggling with increasing decrepitude – setting the planet on the terraforming road to being a new Earth for his fellow travellers (who will spend many centuries in cryosleep).

It’s cleverly done and with a neat ending, more to my liking than his previous Asimovs story The Other Gun.

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