REVIEW: “As the Spindle Burns” by Nellie K. Neves

Review of Nellie K. Neves, “As the Spindle Burns” in Rhonda Parrish, ed., Grimm, Grit, and Gasoline: Dieselpunk and Decopunk Fairy Tales, (World Weaver Press, 2019): 234-256 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

Science is often portrayed as the great saviour, in SF. Science will save us from climate change (either telling us how to reverse it, or getting us off this planet for another one), science will stop wars because of the new weapons it builds, science will overcome illness, science will do and be all. So what I really loved about this evocative retelling of The Twelve Huntsman was the way in which science was cast as the antagonist — not in an anti-elite/anti-science sort of way, but in a “we may have opened Pandora’s box” way. Science has brought so much to the world of this story, but that doesn’t leave the characters from wallowing in a deep uncertainty as to whether this is a good thing. There was quite a bit more ambivalence threaded through this story than some in the anthology, and I enjoy a story that shows just how complex and difficult life really is.

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