Tuesday, September 14, 2021

We Interrupt This Broadcast (Lady Astronaut Universe #0.5), by Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal, February 2014, https://maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/45th-birthday-short-story-party-favour/  (original publication in The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination, ed. by John Joseph Adams, 2013)

This story is set in the Lady Astronaut series, shortly before the start of The Calculating Stars. Do not read it before you read the book. Seriously. Do not. Read it after. 

Fidel Dobes is a scientist, former member of the Manhattan Project, and a brilliant computer programmer in the days when that meant punchcards and a lot of patience, as well as a lot of math. He's also slowly dying of tuberculosis. Mira is his assistant, working closely with him on his latest project, and paying a bit more attention than he realizes.

Fidel has a lot of guilt about the Manhattan Project, especially the fact that a second bomb was dropped in Japan. He's deeply distressed about the direction the world is going in, post-war, and he thinks he's found a solution, a way to set the world on a healthier track. It's a short, sad, moving story.

Do not read it before you read The Calculating Stars. Read it after.

This story is available free on Mary Robinette Kowal's website, but I believe I got it as part of the 2021 Hugo Voters Packet. I am reviewing it voluntarily.

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