REVIEW: “The Four Spider-Societies of Proxima Centauri 33G” by Mercurio D. Rivera

Review of Mercurio D. Rivera, “The Four Spider-Societies of Proxima Centauri 33G”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact March/April (2022): 42–48 (Kindle) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.

On planet 33G of Proxima Centauri, an earth crew is trying to establish a trade relationship with any of the four local spider-like communities: the Rantulaharans, the Manti’ti’ti’tropicans, Kl’kryopolaishans, and the Zilli-tik-nesians. Things don’t go as planned.

This was a funny and well-written short story about the incompetence of the crew trying to accomplish its mission. Rivera takes the old trope about human-alien (mis)communication and turns it on its head by presenting it through the lens of a business transaction. The political commentary is a bit heavy-handed, though it occupies a mostly minor role in the story. The focus (and humor) remains in the clueless protagonist.