Carter Scholz. Vanguard 2.0. (Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities: A Collection of Space Futures, ASU 2017)

Available online here.

Read in The Year’s Best Science Fiction Thirty Fifth Annual Collection (Dozois, 2018).

As with the opening story in the volume, the fourth one is also a reflective one, which will similarly disappoint seekers of action-driven adventure.

There’s a *lot* of detail in the story, which features one Sergei Sergeiivitch, an engineer in the orbiting Vanguard 2.0 spacelab/hab, who reflects on his earlier life, the loss of his father (cancer due to being close to Chernobyl in his youth) and his mother (cut and ran when his dad got cancer), and the world in which he lives : Scholz sets the story in the near future, one of the ‘new normal’, which includes Uber having a much bigger role than they have now (think Elon Musk in 20 years).

Sergei finds, very much to his surprise, the CEO of Uber arriving, and having carried out an EVA (which is a textook EVA, no drama there), a proposal is made, which gives him pause for thought.

And that’s it in terms of ‘story’, but the geo-political background and the other detail makes it much, much more than a story about an EVA going wrong and the astronaut having to save themselves. Neil Clarke chose two other stories from this anthology in his take on the Year’s Best, so definitely a volume to get a hold of (see top of this post).

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