Sunday, May 10, 2015

Review: “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra

The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014) SPRP 

This is subtitled "a golden age tale" so you're sure to have romps and aliens and a puzzle.  It's both a Sad Puppy and a Rabid Puppy nom.

In the high-tech future, three manly space marines – one of them is a woman, but you can't tell – get into fighty drunk trouble on earth, and as a punishment are sent by tough-talking superiors to a planet where the humans are just about to leave, having come up blank on communicating with the local probably-sapient fauna. One of the squad – not the narrator – is convinced he can break the impasse in communication and salvage the expense of the colony.  It turns out he can!

This definitely lives up to its "Golden Age" billing. Humans versus aliens on a newly discovered planet, the soldier who is on his or her last chance before he's kicked out of the service, great descriptions of lethal alien flora and mysterious fauna. Eventually, of course, one of the trio – but not the narrator – remembers an old proverb, and figures out how to communicate with the aliens and save the colony.

My main problem was not being able to pronounce the colony name.  "A breather"? "Ab re-ather?" Other? The second problem was the narrator/protagonist not being the actual agent of change, but hey I've written that before (but not been nommed for a Hugo for it).

I enjoyed reading this and think it's a solid story.  I'm not sure it's Hugo-worthy on its own merits, and of course being on a slate isn't helping. 

Edit to add: I saw it pointed out elsewhere that the lead character's name changes from Asgari to Asari half-way through. So it does. Another "Hello, Editor?" moment. 

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