Tuesday, May 28, 2024

I Thought This Was A Good Story --Then I Learned It Was A Heroic Story


Do you have an unread copy of the May/June issue of Asimov's on hand? Quick! Right now! Open it to page 76 and read Rattler by Leonid Kaganov. The translator's note by Alex Shvartsman at the end too.

Rattler starts with a fresh take on the alien invasion story. The invader is small and so alien as to be incomprehensible. And, at first, there is only one. But it has a singular power: If anyone tries to kill it, that person immediately dies, followed by whoever ordered that person to try and that person's superior and so on up the line. So it can't be defeated and yet it must be defeated. Classic science fiction problem story.

Opposing this is a TV news team: reporter, producer, cameraman, and (the narrator) driver. They are not exactly a team of heroes. But--and the logic of this  perfect--when you need heroes but can't get them, cowards will do.

It's a satisfying story. But it's the translator's note (Shvartsman, btw, does an excellent job of translation) that reveals the story to be something else... an act of heroism.

And why won't I tell you about the translator's note . . . ?

I worry that Kaganov has made himself an enemy of Putin's government. There's nothing you and I can do about that. But we can give him the one thing every writer craves: an audience. If you have a copy of this issue, read it. If you don't, buy one. If you can't buy one, go to whatever place you know of where readers gather and ask for somebody to explain it to you.

Share this post. Pass it off as your own, if you wish. Write your own review. Tell your friends to write reviews. Make this story known. Make its author famous.

He's already a hero.


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