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Comments for Arkfall
The second grand-daughter and grandmother stories tonight is the cover story for September's F&SF, "Arkfall" by Carolyn Ives Gilman. Osaji and her grandmother Moti are unexpectedly forced on an exploration of the uncharted oceans of Ben with a surly off-worlder named Jack.
Ben is an ice-locked planet with an active volcanic rift zone that allows for life to thrive in the oceans below the ice. Most of the human population lives in floating organic ships called arks. Some more permanent cities have begun to form and Osaji's family lives in one, except for her grandmother. She has been Osaji's traveling companion but her growing dementia has made life hard for Osaji.
Despite her reluctance to continue traveling with Moti, Osaji agrees at the last minute to book her a berth on the Divernon. Unfortunately a unexpected eruption launches the ark with only Osaji, Moti and Jack on board. They are blown out of the Saltese Sea into uncharted waters where they must learn to cooperate and Osaji must get over her long held traditions of "passive aggressiveness" as Jack calls it in order to survive and make their way home.
"Arkfall" is both a good adventure story and a character study. It reminds me favorably of A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski and The Galactic Pot-Healer by Philip K. Dick.
Read the interview at the magazine's blog.