Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Upon a Midnight Clear (e-short story) by Ian Thomas Healy

Upon a Midnight Clear is a sci-fi Christmas story. It's 6,170 words long.

I'm not doing a read-alikes list for this one, although, if you'd like another sci-fi Christmas story, allow me to point you to my post for M.C.A. Hogarth's Snow Maiden, or The Case with the Holiday Blues.

Review:

I usually pass short stories by anymore, even free ones, but I was in a downloading mood. This was free and was tagged with “artificial intelligence.” It didn't really work for the reason I downloaded it, but it was an okay short story.

A prospector named Rob Stabler is out working in the Asteroid Belt when he sees a flash of light. It might be a ship in trouble, so Stabler, as the closest prospector available, opts to go to it first while the other prospectors in the area join him ASAP.

I had hoped this would be a story about artificial intelligence, but it wasn't. Stabler brought up “Turings” occasionally. One of the other prospectors married his, but Stabler had no such feelings for Mona, his own ship's onboard Turing. Mona had a speaking role, but she and Stabler don't really chitchat, and her being an AI wasn't hugely important.

This sci-fi Christmas story was actually more about alien life. It got a bit too cutesie for me (seriously, Stabler, that's what you're going to call it?), and I couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen later. The cynical part of me doubted that it would be anything good, but the story itself would probably best be called heartwarming.

I never really know what to say about short stories. It was okay, and Healy's descriptions of Stabler's life were pretty good. The image I had in my head was actually a lot like the life of a trucker – lonely, smelly, and cramped, with something that reminded me of CB radio allowing for a loose connection between the nearby prospectors.

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