Sunday, March 20, 2011
Novelette by Robert Reed
Humans and other aliens are rescued and kept in an alien animal rescue clinic/zoo. Lots of background musing on the limitations of god-like aliens, and the moral choices of which wounded animals to save, but this is mostly the story of Tito, a blind cripple.
Most of the novelette is flashbacks from his current lonely, dissatisfied life as a caged animal. The two flashback time periods allow Reed to tell three stories from Tito's life in detail: his unhappy present existence, his lost love and how she was lost, and how he was blinded as a child.
It's remarkable how much I care for Tito by the end, and the sudden change in the last pages of the story really works for me, adding an emotional denouement to the sad/rebellious/scary triple climax. I think it's happy at the end, but it might not be as happy as we'd hope, and it certainly isn't a deus ex machina, which is a nice surprise in a story essentially about a man's interactions with deus ex machina. Tito attains a surprising amount of agency in his life, and that's what really makes this novelette worthwhile.
4.5 purple busses out of 5 are actually yellow.