Shoreline of Infinity 11½: Edinburgh International Science Festival 2018

Shoreline of Infinity 11½ cover

In “Pull up a Log” editor Noel Chidwick puts the case for SF as a way to fulfil the question, “Can Science Fiction save us?” posed as the title of the spoken word Event Horizon the magazine was invited by the International Science Festival to put on in connection with the festival.

Some of the contents have appeared in previous issues. Charlie: A Projecting Prestidigitator by Megan Neumann and the poem The Morlock’s Arms by Ken McLeod appeared in Shoreline of Infinity (SoI) 2, We Have Magnetic Trees by Iain Maloney, Pigeon by Guy Stewart and the poem South by Marge Simon in SoI 3, Goodnight New York, New York by Victoria Zevlin and the poem Starscape by J S Watts in SoI 6, Message in a Bottle by Davyne DeSye in SoI 7, the poem Spring Offensive by Colin McGuire in SoI 8, while The Sky is Alive by Michael F Russell, The Last Days of the Lotus Eaters by Leigh Harlen and the poem the evening after by Peter Roberts in SoI 9.

We start with the poem Can Sci-Fi Save Us? by Jane Yolen and then the fiction kicks off with A Cure for Homesickness by Anne Charnock in which a contract employee ponders whether to extend her time.
Winter in the Vivarium1 by Tim Major is set in a future ice age. Ice statues suddenly start to appear outside the Vivarium for the rich and privileged whose upkeep is seen to by viewpoint character, the much less privileged Byron.
Charlie’s Ant2 by Adrian Tchaikovsky is about the dispute between Central Control and the ants of Charlie field over how maintain a farm’s production of grain. (Unbeknownst to both, the human society they were set up to service has broken down.)
In Candlemaker Row3 by Jane Alexander an unspecified disaster has hit Edinburgh. Our narrator is a woman who once lived there, now employed to verify its digital reconstruction – especially its aromas.
The titular Mémé of Juliana Rew’s story is one of the few survivors of her age group left after a flu epidemic wiped out older people. She becomes venerated and an influencer.
Monoliths4 by Paul McAuley looks to have been inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey and the phenomenon of crop circles. Set in the author’s Quiet War universe three conspirators contrive to build a monolith on the far side of the Moon. When touched it will activate a radio signal beamed at the galaxy’s centre. Thirty-six years later more such unattributed monoliths begin to spring up all over the Solar System.
In A Distant Honk by Holly Schofield, a research biologist is tracking the behaviour and habitat of the wild clown population, which is dying out.
The Day it all Ended5 by Charlie Jane Anders shows a worker for a producer of useless but made highly desirable items deciding to tell his boss where to stuff it all only to find that was what the company had been waiting for to put into effect its real plan.
The narrator of Last of the Guerilla Gardeners6 by David L Clements is exactly that. Big agribusiness corporations have taken over seed distribution with only a dedicated few guerrilla gardeners left to scatter wild seed about. And there has been a crackdown on them. This story does for plants what Number Ten Q Street did for food.
This is followed by the poem: Now a Ragged Breeze by Jane Yolen.
Then in “Working the High Steel”7 by Jennifer R Povey, Malisse is a female Mohawk used to being told to get back to the reservation. But she is a construction worker, on a kind of space elevator. The finished project is being tested when one of the transit pods hits a problem. She goes out to try to fix it. After all, “‘Mohawks don’t fall.’”
The Rest is Speculation8 by Eric Brown is set over two million years in the future when representatives of all the sentient species which have populated Earth are brought to witness the planet’s last moments. The story nods to James Blish’s Surface Tension.

Pedant’s corner:- 1“Bryan dropped down from gantry” (from the gantry,) “the ha-ha that obstructed views of the town” (obscured is more usual,) jerry-rig (jury-rig.) 2Despite the author being British we have fit as a past tense (fitted,) “sufficient to even take the ants aback” (since this was about the ants’ attitudes this should be ‘sufficient to take even the ants aback,’) “I have had to considerable increase” (considerably.) 3“the skin team are working on it” (strictly ‘the skin team is working on it’,) “the Nor” Loch” (x2, Nor’ requires only an inverted comma, not an end quotation mark.) “Architects drawings” (strictly, Architects’.) “His team have been running behind” (his team has been.) 4 “ratio of 1:4:9, the square of the first three integers” (the squares of the first three.) 5ne280ws (???) CO2 (CO2, x 3,) a missing comma before a piece of direct speech. 6lept (leapt,) unlisenced (unlicenced,) gardner (gardener.) 7two odd line breaks on page 147, “a 140-pound woman could not hold a 230- pound man” (either both, or neither, should have a space after the 140 or 230,) “ I don’t really see she could have stayed on when the passenger pod after it started moving’” (no ‘when’ required,) “‘when the pod is stationery’” (stationary.) 8“this lacunae in our memories” (lacunae is plural. Either ‘these lacunae’ or, ‘this lacuna’. The first would make more sense,) eyes-stalks (eye-stalks – unless the stocks had more than one eye each,) “‘And they?’ I Kamis asked?” (The ‘I’ is redundant.) “Time interval later” count; 2.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

free hit counter script