Suzanne Palmer. Fly Away Home. (Interzone #251, Mar-Apr 2014)

interzone251Excellent SF from Palmer – if SF which includes spacesuits, colonies, evil corporations, religion, gender issues, and drama is the kind of thing that you like. Like what I do.

Film-makers wanting to jump on the ‘Gravity’ bandwagon, who have a female actor (or ‘actress’ as they were called back in the day) and are looking for a strong character to play, should look no further.

Fari is a woman in a man’s job – and she’s the best miner on her crew, which tends to piss off many of the men, in a universe with what sounds like an ever stricter version of Sharia Law. Fari is an indentured worker, try to earn her freedom. A freedom taken away from her when she was taken away from her mother for simply being out in space with her, without a male escort.

There’s corporate politics, rapacious colleagues and more for her to overcome, and suffice to say, whereas ‘Gravity’ ends with a Hollywood ending, this one don’t, but the final page has some revelations and actions that are a surprise, and are impactful – to the extent I’m going to flag this up as a contender in the Best SF Short Story Award 2014.

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