Wednesday, May 12, 2010

2010 Hugo nominee, short story: "The Moment" by Lawrence M. Schoen (Footprints)

This is a very short story, and, honestly, I don’t have much to say about it. I like the image that Schoen creates here. The story takes place at what is presumably Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the moon. We get a series of vignettes across a cosmological timescale, most of which are long strings of nonsense words and ideas describing various exotic alien species (your typical broccoli-people, “proto-godlings,” etc.). There are also little bits of irony and satire about cosmic bureaucracy. There’s some sort of inspiring message about human courage at the end, but it rang a bit hollow for me and didn’t make a whole lot of sense in context.

It’s hard for me not to read this story in the context of the recent discussions of the cancellation of the Constellation project (NASA's attempt to return to the moon), especially since there’s some satire of audits and cost evaluations. It seems that Schoen is saying “damn the costs, it’s the fraking moon!” (though again, that’s me bringing to the table specific debates that probably hadn’t even happened yet when he wrote this story). It’s a nice sentiment, and one that I’m inclined towards, and yet…

I admire what Schoen did here, but I didn’t particularly like it.

Can be read for free here.

Grade: C-

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