Sean Monaghan. Walking Gear. (Asimovs March 2014)

asimovs1403A first story in Asimov’s from Monaghan.

A scientist working with some very leading-edge alien medical tech uses his contacts to get his sister’s leg replaced, and to get her off drugs. We are introduced to her as a ‘low-rent hooker’ in the opening sentence. He has issues of his own, and between them, and their estranged father, there’s a lot of history and a lot of distance.

The story focusses on the relationship between the siblings, and how the treatment does/does not help matters. The alien tech is fairly marginal, although the ease at which a replacement leg is grown and grafted onto her stump is ridiculously quick. And humorous, in terms of having all this alien hi-tech but also having a nurse ”..draw lines on Jenni’s stump, marking out where the new leg would be fitted..’ which gave me the mental image of two big arrows in felt-tip pen pointing to the stump with ‘FIX NEW LEG HERE’ in big letters.

Anyhoo, the story addresses their relationship, their shortcomings individually, and there’s a girlfriend thrown into the equation, and (spoiler alert) it all ends quite upbeat, having been leading towards a less positive ending until the last half-page. So props to Monaghan for investigating the human side and not the technology side of things.

More from this issue of Asimov’s here.

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