Knowing the reference the title is making (something I did already know, because ever since learning it I have had plans for my own story based on it!) is not necessary to understand the context of the story, which stands beautifully self-sufficient on its own feet, slightly scary and heartbreakingly sad.
Review of Geoffrey W. Cole, “The Five Rules of Supernova Surfing or A For Real Solution to the Fermi Paradox, Bro”, Clarkesworld Issue 184, January (2022): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.
A story about a pair of “surfer dudes” who enjoy surfing supernovas. The supernovas have been exploding too soon, which we later find out is due to the heat death of the universe, and they are supposed to set up a simulation. Why they were selected is beyond me and not really explained in the story.
Indeed, I don’t see why they were chosen to do something so important and **spoiler alert** they don’t even actually set up the simulation they were supposed to. They choose to get high and surf together instead.
They do manage to set up something eventually, but it was an unsatisfying end to the plot.
There is so much tension and backstory and history in this story, right from the very start. Bazldjoo strikes an excellent balance for the reader between the enjoyable uncertainty about what’s going on and how everything fits in, and frustration about the exact same thing. I immediately want to know more about the narrator, who are they, why is their life like this. A great read.
Chalt is “a five-kilogram half-cybernetic brain capable of quick and easy transplant into specially printed bodies as per contract” — a distinctive choice of main character, even for an SF story. The bodies he (and Chalt is a “he,” no matter what body he wears) gets planted into are varied and diverse, more than just humanoid. In fact, there is a lot of time spent on describing the bodies, their limbs, their materials, their abilities, perhaps a bit more time than strictly speaking needed in what is otherwise a fairly short story. I could’ve done with a bit more story and a bit less description.