Weeding Womb

The Days Between

The Days Between by Allen M. Steele. (Some spoilers ahead. I often spoil dull stories without warning but this one's worth reading.) A wonderful little tale about a man who's as alone as he can be: Revived centuries early on the first colony ship out of the solar system. The story is a great tale about this lone man's collapse into madness and rebirth into sanity and - hopefully - the form of immortality that a person's works (writing, painting, etc.) bring. Some great irony, like how the agent of his rebirth is also the agent of his undoing.

The problems with the story are minor. One annoying continuity glitch is that, despite being a prolific writer, he never runs out of log books to write in. How many dead trees did these people pack away to bring with them? Another one was the annoyingly and utterly arbitrary nature of the 'You can't go back into cryo storage because that unit has been deactivated.' plot device. I understand it was integral to the setting's development - he'd have just gone back to 'sleep' if he could have - but even a slightly more complex explanation about not having the proper drugs/nanotech/whatever would have been appreciated. Or, better yet, given the reason he was accidentally unthawed to begin with (someone was supposed to be unthawed illegally to act as a suicide bomber of sorts, but the wrong person was awakened), perhaps the cryo system's re-freezing subunit could have been sabotaged, so the 'bomber' wouldn't be able to get second thoughts about his mission once woken up and left alone.

Still, they're minor flaws one is willing to forgive. Though I wonder if part of the reason I enjoyed the story was because it focuses on writing and other creative things. Perhaps it takes some insight into how fiction is written to truly enjoy the story.

The Archon

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