Monday, April 08, 2013

“The Long View” by Van Aaron Hughes :: Patty’s Story Recommendation of the Week

Hi.  Let me introduce myself: I'm Patty Palko, a new reviewer to Fantastic Reviews.  I thought that my first post should concern Aaron's story "The Long View" just published in the March/April 2013 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.  I was afraid that Aaron would be too humble to tout how great this story really is.  So, I thought I would do it for him.

"The Long View" follows genetic engineer Emzara Ghali-Gordon on a trip into deep space with a shipload of colonists.  Many authors have used faster-than-light drives, suspended animation, or multi-generational ships to bridge long travel times.  Instead, Aaron's Ghali-Gordon is responsible for altering the settlers' genetic code to slow their bodies to 1/20th their normal speed.  Aging a mere 6.25 years for a 125-year journey is an ingenious method of allowing humans to explore the universe.  As a doctorate holder in the biological sciences, I was impressed with how well the science and complications of gene therapy were communicated.

Yet from the beginning, it is clear that this is a tale of loss:
What makes a person decide to desert everyone she knows and leave the whole world behind?  My name is Emzara Ghali-Gordon, and the first time I did it was easy.
Through the well-integrated flashbacks, Emzara describes her history as jabaan, or "coward," for fleeing her native Egypt due to its unprogressive ways.  As the story advances, her actions result in an emotional impact wrapped within an unexpected ending.  It's time well spent following this sympathetic character to find what she gains, and loses, along the way.

(If you like "The Long View," I recommend my favorite Hughes story "The Dualist," from the anthology Writers of the Future Volume 27.  There is some damn fine storytelling in those pages.)

1 comment:

Aaron Hughes said...

Thanks, Patty! I'm honored.