REVIEW: “Solicited Discordance” by Matthew Hughes

Review of Matthew Hughes, “Solicited Discordance”, Asimov’s Science Fiction January/February (2018): 95- 110 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Kiera Lesley.

Detective Erm Kaslo has been hired to find and bring back rich heir Delabond Shekhar, suspected of being seduced into a common scam to hunt for treasure on Bessarene – a continent on which nano and native organisms have been left to fuse and evolve into a dangerous wilderness. To make matters more interesting Delabond’s potential seducer practices ‘solicited discordance’ – an approach to living which challenges physical and intellectual comforts. However, as Kaslo follows the pair to Bessarene, he discovers that there is more going on than he initially suspected.

A neat space opera adventure story. The plot and world were interesting and the action sequences at the climax were fun. However, the narrative had a lot of dense paragraphs of description, historical context, and a lengthy section speculating on what was happening off-screen which I found slowed the pace.

The idea of solicited discordance is an interesting one – someone deliberately devoting their life to experiencing discomfort and difficulties. However, as the character in question wasn’t our perspective character, it was a bit more peripheral to the story than the title suggests.


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