Monday, June 6, 2011

Stone Age

Short Story by Alastair Mayer

A story that reads for much of its eight pages like it should be set in the Stargate: SG-1 universe. An archeologist finds a pyramid in a jungle on an alien world, and hopes it will prove his theories of ancient-but-not-geologically-ancient alien astronauts. This universe is known to have been colonized by "Terraformers", who went around making lots of planets, including Earth, all similar to each other. Down to transplanting mosquitos around the galaxy. But the idea that a more recent species, ten thousand or so years ago, flew around the galaxy is considered completely crackpot for some reason. Although humans are flying around the galaxy right now, and finding square pyramids on nearly every planet.

At the mention of possible flying pyramid-ships in space, I couldn't help rolling my eyes, and I almost put the story down there. It was pretty clunky up to that point, in dialogue and exposition. But then Dr. Daniel Jackson Dr. Hannibal Carson has his hopes dashed by tomb raiders jumping his find and things get more interesting. The tomb plot makes the bulk of the story, and my sympathy for the crackpot scientist really increases by the end. The ending is more-or-less happy, with Carson managing to save some evidence from his find even as he loses most of it.

This story is a bit slight, in character, plot, and ideas, but the world-building is good, and the clunky writing improves in the second half. It actually held my attention pretty well, and was short enough I think it was worth my time for the neat archeological find and snappy second half.

2.5 ancient alien astronauts out of 5.

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