Allen M. Steele. The Prodigal Son. (Asimovs October/November 2014)

asimovs141011A follow-up a couple of generations on, to Steele’s The Legion of Tomorrow a few issues back, which didn’t really grab me.

There’s not a whole lot of inspiration in the lengthy story, nor, really evidence of a whole lot of perspiration, as it’s fairly routine and somewhat cliched. Funded by the astute financial dealings of a Golden Age of SF writer and his close friends, with governmental space exploration nixed, the Arkwright Foundation has stepped into the breach and are in the final stages of completing an interstellar vessel that will fly to a nearby star with frozen sperm and eggs, which will be used to create babies to be raised by ‘robo-nannies’ (yes, really).

The grandson of the protagonist in the first story, a mid-twenties young man with a track record of false starts in a variety of careers, is summoned to the Caribbean island where elements of the spaceship are being built and boosted into orbit. Having thus far eschewed any interest or involvement in the work of the Foundation, the story is able to progress with lots of info-dumping about the technology along the way.

There are religious zealots opposing the mission, natch, and these are very crudely characterised. The young man takes a fancy for a scientist, and she eventually falls for him, natch. And after some last minute drama, the mission is underway.

Mind you, at least Steele gets a same sex relationship, and a decent British accent into the story.

More from this issue here.

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