FeatherPenClipArtThis short story was nominated for the Hugos, but withdrawn by the author after the Puppies scandal got messy. Bellet’s withdrawal made space on the ballot for “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond. This story was published in The End is Now (The Apocalypse Triptych Book 2) from John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey. Since it was nominated, I thought it rates a review.

The moon is hit by an asteroid, and Lucy and her friends Jack and Heidi flee from California inland toward Lucy’s father’s farm in Montana. On the way they experience fallout from the disaster, including dangerous meteor showers and lawless criminals. They also meet some very nice people. When their Jeep is nearly hit by a falling meteor, Jack’s arm is broken and Heidi is mortally injured. They are helped by a farm couple, and Lucy goes on alone to find her father. Jack joins her later, after burying Heidi. Lucy’s mother was stationed on the moon, and they get a final recorded message brought by a pregnant woman who served with her. Lucy’s mother gave up a place in the evacuation to save her.

This is a fairly well-written story, another of the popular, highly sentimental pieces placed in a science framework. It includes strong language and violence which makes it edgy and increases the emotional impact. Characterization and action are both decent, with enough background on the characters to round them out some. It includes diversity, as the protagonist is actually Lucita, half Puerto Rican and described as having leftist views but willing to shoot someone threatening her friends. The deaths are very sad. Two and a half stars.

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