reading-clipart-6This novelette was published by Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, 05-2014.

The human colony on Alluvium has been taken over by a lizard race called Peshari. Humans have revolted, but have failed to win back their autonomy. The Peshari limit technology use by humans, including that for medical purposes, and use remote observation units to monitor humans. Keller and Cerna walk into the lizard town and Keller asks a Peshari to make a memorial for him, but the Peshari refuses because Keller’s ashes won’t be a part of it. Worried about his friend, Cerna check with his ex-wife the doctor who refuses to give out info. Keller then confides that his nano protection has failed and he has developed cancer. Keller dies, but has made plans for burial rather than cremation, knowing this will curse the ground for the Peshari.

There’s a problem with world-building on this one. The initial Peshari attack and the subsequent revolts are described as bloody, but this looks like life as usual to me. The colonists have tablet computers, fabrication units, celebrate birthdays and holidays, but are not allowed long range communications or transportation. Why? I don’t get it. Plus, these guys could be working in the suburbs for all I can tell. There’s no difference in culture, outlook or behavior. The few characters we see are flat and the death is just a plot device. On the positive side, the idea of cursing the ground is pretty creative. One and a half stars.