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Nine Whispered Opinions Regarding the Alaskan Secession: 09/20/08
I'm taking a break from my reviews of current F&FS stories for one originally published in the July 2004 issue, "Nine Whispered Opinions Regarding the Alaskan Secession" by George Guthridge. From now through October 20, 2008, the magazine's blog is offering a web version of it in light of recent political events.
Like many of my favorite science fiction short stories, this one was inspired by a bet. The author explains at the stories close: "This story was the result of a bet with Bruce Holland Rogers. It had to consist of nine vignettes, each of which had exact attributes, including a specific number of words and an sf idea of its own besides being integral to the story." These constraints help give each vignette its own voice. Some are just scenes, nothing more than a quick description, while others are lengthy explorations of what would have to happen for Alaska to try secession.
In this near future Alaska has a number of problems. The moose population has been depleted, a "Frankenfish" salmon has taken over and the newest totem celebrates beer, pizza and cars.
It's tricky to review this story. Prior to Palin's inclusion on the GOP ticket, Guthridge's story would have read like any number of quirky Alaskan stories. Had I read this in 2004, I would have thought first of Northern Exposure but now it's impossible to think of the story without thinking of Gov. Palin.