BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Polyamorous lovers lead a revolution for Mars.
PROS: Beautiful writing and revolutionary ideas.
CONS: Uncomfortable power dynamics and sketched-in background.
BOTTOM LINE: A small-press publication translated from Spanish.
I’d like to draw your attention to this novelette, translated from Spanish for Upper Rubber Boot Books by Lawrence Schimel. In it we get the perspective of a young boy, Jeddediah, as he moves from youth to maturity and enters a relationship with a Martian with whom he leads a revolution for Mars. The Martian, Ajax, was a genetically modified terraformer, one of a species cast aside when Mars became suitable for humans. The story focuses tightly on their relationship, which becomes polyamorous, and on Ajax’s odd relationship to “memory.” The squib reads: “Memory explores the nature of oppression, genetic engineering, non-binary relationships, and—you guessed it—memory, on a colony on a terraformed Mars. This novelette was a finalist for the Ignotus (the Spanish national science fiction awards) and originally appeared in the anthology Terra Nova.”
It’s hard to review such a short story–my brief takeaway is that it’s worth your time to read and evaluate for yourself. I found the writing and characterization beautiful, the global politics sadly backgrounded, and the power dynamics of the central relationship very, very creepy. I can say that the way that the story reframes itself at the end is wonderful although with troubling implications. Almost anything else I could say would be clearly in “spoiler” territory. Take a look! Available as a $5.99 paperback or $3.99 eBook from Amazon.