REVIEW: “Mozart on the Kalahari” by Steven Barnes

Review of Steven Barnes, “Mozart on the Kalahari”, in Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities: A Collection of Space Futures, edited by Ed Finn and Joey Eschrich, (Center for Science and Imagination, Arizona State University, 2017): 33-48 — Download here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

This story lends itself well to a bullet point review:

  • I really liked the title, and I liked that we got an explanation of it by the end.
  • The author appears to have missed the memo (most eloquently outlined by Writing With Color on Tumblr that describing skin tones with food terms is maybe not the best route to go.
  • I found it hard to connect with Meek, the MC, in those initial, all-important, opening pages; if I wasn’t reading this for review, I’m not sure I would have persevered. But I did, and he began to grow on me (pun not entirely intended).
  • The lack of women with real agency irritated me; those that were in the story seemed placed there to drive forward Meek’s story, not live out any story of their own.
  • Even though more of the points above are negative than positive, I liked Barnes’s views of how human adaptation in the near future might go.