Saturday, August 29, 2015

Goodnight Stars, by Annie Bellet

The End is Now, Broad Reach Publications, ISBN 9781497484375, September 2014

Goodnight Stars

Lucy Goodwin and friends are camping and watching an exceptionally impressive meteor shower when something goes wrong. Heidi has claimed the moon looks "lopsided." Lucy's boyfriend Jack, an Afghanistan veteran, gets a message that the reserves are being activated--and it's the last contact they have before their phones can't get a signal anymore.

They head for the nearest gas station in the Jeep, and there's still TV reception there. Something hit the far side of the Moon, and did major damage, producing a major fall of space rocks onto Earth. It will cause an impact winter, which might last years.

Lucy's mother was an engineer working at a base on the far side of the Moon.

The story is about their struggles, physical and emotional, on their journey to get to what might be the safest place available to them: away from California and anywhere on the coast, to the Goodwin farm outside Lolo, Montana. Bellet makes the challenges real and convincing without positing the immediate, spontaneous collapse of civilization and human decency. More importantly, at least for me as a reader, she makes Lucy's grieving and her efforts to keep herself sane, focused, and functional, and the emotional processing of what's happened, equally real and convincing.

Highly recommended.

This is a story nominated on the Sad Puppies slate. Bellet hadn't been asked about her willingness to participate in a highly politicized, grievance-driven departure from the norms of the Hugo nomination process, and withdrew her story from nomination.