Ken Liu. The People of Pele. (Asimovs, February 2012)

Liu has had a string of excellent stories appearing in various locations in the last year or two, often quite innovative and in some cases challenging. This, his second story in Asimovs, is very much standard Asimovs fayre, or, indeed, even leaning towards an Analog-y story. His story focusses on two or three of the main characters who are to be the first representatives of humanity on another planet.

There’s political depth to the story in terms of the planet they’ve left behind, and some interpersonal depth, in terms of the partners that have been left behind. There’s also some intriguing science around what they find on the planet on which they make landfall. In an ansible-less environment, how they respond to the politics back on Earth (or the politics as they were some decades ago when the radio messages were sent), is the issue at the end of the story (nb check the story title).

So, all in all, a bit too much of a pretty well-covered sf trope than we have had from Liu at his best.

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