REVIEW: “One Hundred” by Sean Monaghan

Review of Sean Monaghan, “One Hundred”, Analog Science Fiction and Fact March/April (2020): 173–182 (Kindle) – Purchase Here. Reviewed by John Atom.

Contains spoilers.

Earth is gone, and the last one-hundred remaining humans have managed to carve out a living on a Martian colony. It’s been over 18 years, and nearly every day presents a new challenge for the colonists. After a disastrous fire that takes out a whole portion of their habitat, the colonists rethink their survival strategy, allowing for more innovation and freedom.

First of all, I must mention that this story has some serious plausibility issues: for instance, it is hard to believe that the colony went over 18 years without any new births. And if it did, there can’t be many people left that are of childbearing age. All in all, this colony seems doomed in more than one way. The author touches on some of these issues very briefly (and unsatisfactorily), but ignores most. 

If you can somehow make it past all that, then this is a fairly enjoyable story. The premise is nothing new, but the author’s tone and style have a rather endearing sense of melancholy that add depth to the prose. The characters feel real and so do their emotions in the challenges they have to face (in spite of the aforementioned plausibility issues). I also enjoyed the optimism of the ending, even though I do not think it is entirely earned.