3 of 5 stars.
At its best, sci-fi pushes and pulls against the achievements and possibilities of mankind and the very laws and limits of science itself. The laws of science, of course, are not like the laws of man however–they aren’t suggestions with consequences, they are hard and fast rules holding the fabric of the cosmos together as it expands. These are rules not meant to be broken, indeed, it shouldn’t even be possible lest the laws themselves are somehow wrong.
This tale pushes space travel to the extreme by following the very historic and selfish nature of mankind. Regular space travel is ok. Warp speed breaking Einstein’s predictions isn’t as it rips the delicate fabric of the cosmos. To heal the tears, a fee must be paid back in terms of energy and time–like a speeding ticket on a cosmic level. But that is a price some are willing to pay, if just to enjoy the thrill of the vaster universe and otherwise unreachable solar systems.
This tale follows Nuhane through many stages of his extremely, genetically enhanced long life as he and his mentor, and later his intern, hunt down the violators and exact the penalty of stasis for a length of time to off-set the damage done. That term often lasts for millions of years.
But even those enforcing the laws feel the thrill, and must pay the price . . .
This tale appears in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2016 edited by Rich Horton, which I received directly from Prime Books.
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