Juliet Kemp, A Glimmer of Silver, The Book Smugglers, 2018.
Catching up on this scifi novella has been a delightful experience. It'll be a great read if you're looking for a relatively low-key, thoughtful and hopeful story.
Jennery lives on a planet where a small community of humans floats above Ocean. Only a handful of them can make contact with Ocean. They are Communicators. Jennery doesn't want to become a Communicator, xe'd rather be a musician. But a few days before xyr 16th birthday, Ocean talks to xem because some humans are eating fish, something that human laws forbid.
Though I tend to avoid teenagers in fiction, Jennery was quite an interesting character to follow. Xe can appear petulant in the beginning of the story, but the coming-of-age plot is inextricably linked to wider issues that makes xyr youth an effective way to brush upon those.
I particularly enjoyed how A Glimmer of Silver dealt with ecological issues through the prism of first contact and cohabitation with aliens. It was, in a sense, quite low-key, but the story hammers home some simple and necessary truths, particularly in our day and age.
Kemp tells of a human society that has certainly moved forward in many areas, particularly about gender, but at the same time, that still repeats some errors.
The stakes are high, because it is about the survival of this small community, living isolated on an alien planet. But at the same time, the story has more than a glimmer of silver, it has a glimmer of hope, through communication, understanding and sharing.
Kemp has written A Glimmer of Silver in a fluid and precise prose that conveys wonderfully both Jennery's emotions, but also the sense of immensity and frailty that humans face, living on the surface of Ocean.
A Glimmer of Silver is a great scifi novella for a cosy read, that nonetheless touches subtly and effectively on questions of ecology, responsibility and gender.
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All reviews are spoiler free unless explicitly stated otherwise.
I only review stories I have liked even if my opinion may be nuanced. It doesn't apply for the "Novels published before 1978" series of blog posts.
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