REVIEW: “Nine Lattices of Sargasso” by Jason Sanford

Review of Jason Sanford, “Nine Lattices of Sargasso”, Asimov’s Science Fiction November/December (2017): 126-149 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Kiera Lesley.

I now know, my maybe on-day love, that memories aren’t reality. But I still hope the memories I’ve shared hold true. If only for a little while.

I really enjoyed this one. Told in a series of nine ‘Lattices’ – memory experiences that are able to be live-streamed or uploaded to the greater mind web – Sanford tells the story of Amali, her family, and Mareena a girl who washes up on their home Lifeboat Merkosa – a massive floating island for refugees of a technological crash caused by a rogue AI.

This has one tough opening sequence. I struggled with the first two ‘Lattices’ – the world-building, the technology, who my main character was and generally what was going on was all dense difficult to grasp. But Lattice 3 gives the world and characters context and it romps home from there. I went back and re-read the first two Lattices after finishing the piece and they made much more sense after the fact. Readers should stick with this one to at least Lattice 3 to give this novelette a proper chance.

Though it takes a while for all of it to become comprehensible, readers are rewarded with a story that includes issues of refugees and nationless-ness, piracy and exploitation of the vulnerable, and characters who are morally ambiguous at best all tied up into an action story set in a surreal post-apocalypse with smaller, human moments at its heart.

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