Monday, December 28, 2009


Novelette by Tom Ligon

An alien civilization launches a weapon to destroy Earth's sun. In an earlier story, this weapon is defeated. Now Earth debates what the response will be. The U.N. Secretary General is the main character and seems to be the only one opposed to a violent response. The complication here is that it will take 40 years or more to respond, and even longer to know if we accomplished anything.

Issues of mutually assured destruction, turning into the monster you're fighting, etc. all come up, and are dealt with well, but the main thrust of the story is the majority in a democracy lusting after a suicidal option when logical analysis would tell them they are wrong. But emotions rule us in the end and you can't win a fight against a massive public opinion backed by all the major powers. This is really a long series of people having conversations with the Secretary General, with history references sprinkled in (Mr. Ligon even discusses the great Zheng He, but is apparently unaware of the Admiral's first contact experience.) The conclusion is a rather clever bit of politics, and is the sort of compromise I wish more real life politicians were smart enough to make. There is negligable "action", lots of talking, and yet this was one of the most interesting novelettes of the year; 4.5 out of 5.

1 comment:

Tom Ligon said...

Thanks for the thumbs up. You get it! I was wondering if I could pull this story off since it is, indeed, talk rather than action.