by Sue Lange
Category: Fiction / Science Fiction
0 pages; ISBN: 095805438X
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Paul Lappen
Set approximately 1000 years from now, Tritcheon Hash is a hot-shot female pilot on the planet Coney Island (named for a famous Earth penal colony). Several hundred years previously, all the women from Earth packed up and moved to Coney Island, leaving the men on their own. Now, the only contact between them happens once a year in a neutral part of the galaxy. At that meeting, all male babies born on Coney Island are exchanged for a ton of frozen sperm.
For the past 50 years or so, secret contacts have been taking place between both planets concerning Reunification, a very touchy subject for both sides. The leaders of Coney Island need to know what’s happening on Earth. All their probes and long-distance readings can’t get past the Dispro Haze. It’s a mile-high layer of dust, chemicals and debris that surrounds Earth and blocks out the sun; giant xenon lamps are used to simulate the sun. Tritch is chosen as a one-person mission to Earth, but specialized training is needed, first. At the local military academy, she meets Bangut Walht, a sensitive young man (it’s the only place on Coney Island where men are allowed), to which Tritch is immediately attracted. She also meets Slab Ricknoy, a loudmouthed, arrogant jerk. The program ends, and the men are sent back to Earth, the day that Hash and Ricknoy get into a fight.
Tritch arrives on Earth, near Lake Michigan, and her cover is blown almost immediately. Earth is a place of extreme dirtiness. The air is dirty, the people are dirty and much of the planet is either full of radiation, or officially dead. She runs into Bangut Walht, who shows her the few bright spots. She also meets Slab Ricknoy, now a General, who is convinced that Hash is there to spy on him. He is also a paranoid person, who believes in endless war. Ricknoy has also impounded Hash’s ship, looking for its faster-than-light drive, called a lighterator. By galactic law, Earth is confined to the solar system. Should people like Ricknoy get an FTL drive, it would not bode well for anyone, especially the inhabitants of Coney Island.
This is a really sharp satire about men and women about which I’m sure some people will complain. I enjoyed it. It’s very easy to read, it has things to say, and it’s quite a perceptive story. Well worth checking out.