Search This Blog

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"The Water Sculptor" by George Zebrowski

First appeared in Infinity One.  Reprinted by Ellen Datlow and Robert Reginald.


Christian Praeger orbits Earth on a space station, dropping canisters to rebuild the ozone layer.  He watches natural disasters, like hurricanes, hit Pacific shores.  Julian is a water sculptor, freezing water in space and removing the plastic that held it in place.  Both are former astronaut heroes.


...his friend and companion, Julian dies.  Christian performs a fitting outer space burial.


This is Zebrowski's first story.  It shows.  Compare this to the next year's Nebula-finalist story, "Heathen God", and you'll see an immediate difference.  This one throws two interesting space-career men together, espouses common SF sentiments, and then kills one of them.  It's a kind of throw-all-the-noodles-against-the-wall-and-see-if-anything-sticks methodology.  You can tell by looking at the summary--one event has little do with the other.  The smaller, line-by-line SF details and imagery are superior in this tale, but "Heathen God" gives you something to think about.  Still, that's quite a learning curve: from pseudo-SF to Nebula finalist in one year.

I recall another famous author talking about an early story of hers where she didn't know how to end it, so she killed people off.  There you go:  the secret to ending SF stories...  Not really.  But maybe that will help make you a sale.

No comments:

Post a Comment