Short Story Review: “The Astrakhan, the Homburg, and the Red, Red Coal” by Chaz Brenchley

2 of 5 stars.

With the prospect of discovering life–or better yet, intelligent life–beyond Earth, one of the biggest questions is how humans would communicate with it. We aren’t always the best at communicating with each other. Or even with other forms of life on Earth.

This Lovecraftian tale imagines the colonization of Mars and the discovery of life there in the form of a long-lived creature that undergoes metamorphosis through many vastly different forms from the swimming Naiad, bubble-talking juvenile stage to the dragonesque, flying imago stage in which all communication is electromagnetic resembling a mind-melding telepathy. Most individual attempts to communicate have failed or led to insanity, but some success has been found when groups of people neural link their own thoughts via a mysterious machine and elixir, and reach out to the creature . . .

The idea is intriguing, but the story suffocates under pages of veiled dialogues worthy of a British drama. Whereas, the action is relegated to the fringes.

This tale appears in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2016 edited by Rich Horton, which I received directly from Prime Books.

 

 

 

[Check out my other reviews here.]

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