REVIEW: “Keeping the Peace” by Elisabeth R. Adams

Review of Elisabeth R. Adams, “Keeping the Peace”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact July/August (2020): 118–123 (Kindle) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.

Contains spoilers.

An alien species of intelligent reptiles is preparing to launch an attack at what is presumably our Solar System. Their intention is to spread to the stars, but only by conquering already populated planets. They’re not interested in other means of colonization. During the launching ceremony, a few who are not happy with the current predicament decide to overthrow the leader and put a stop to the cycle of violence.

What I appreciated the most in “Keeping the Peace” was its pace. The story builds up elegantly to its climax, while also giving a complete picture of what the society in question is like. I always enjoy concise world-building, and Adams does that splendidly here. Not one sentence felt wasted. Little touches like naming characters after star systems or their peculiar ritualistic chants go a long way into defining the alien culture within the story.

However, I was slightly disappointed with the resolution. The main character’s rise to power seemed a little too easy considering how violent and war-mongering their society was. Despite this, “Keeping the Peace” was a joy to read.

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