Review of Jude-Marie Green, “Far, Far From Land”, Luna Station Quarterly 30: Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.
One of the hardest parts about short SF stories is conveying everything that is distinctive about the fictional world in which the story takes places without spending all of the words doing so. It is hard to balance between explaining enough so that the reader gets a sense of what is science and what is fiction, but not so much that the reader gets no story, nor so little that the jargon seems mere window dressing and not deeply integrated.
Green’s story starts off too much on the “too little” side; a lot of technical terms and phrases are peppered throughout the opening paragraphs, but there is not enough context to know what an “xyz grid” is or how fractals can bounce, or be juicy.
That being said, I love the idea of big vessels trawling through space fishing for instantiations of mathematical concepts, and the casual ease the crewmates clearly display in their conversation with each other makes it easy to become invested in them, to hope for what they hope for and to mourn when they mourn as well.