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Retrograde Summer: 07/25/09
I posted the earlier review of Harriet's Hare by Dick King-Smith on automatic not even remembering that Saturday is my science fiction short story day.
My life is upside down right now with the sudden news that I've been laid off and today was just busy. We had a birthday party for Sean, almost a month early, because my brother in law and his wife are expecting their first child. Her due date is the same as what Sean's was. So we're joking that she might end up sharing his birthday too.
"Retrograde Summer" is a classic reprint in the June /July issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. The story takes place on Mercury and is the meeting between clone siblings. Why one is a boy and one is a girl and they are otherwise genetically the same confused me at first. I think were I more awake I would have enjoyed "Retrograde Summer" from the first page. Instead, it took me about 2/3 of it before I really got into it.
The history of these two siblings and the reasons behind their separation, their different genders and how life on the different planets is possible comes out in their walks on Mercury. Near the end they are stranded and the clone sister connects all the dots both for her confused brother and for us.
Ultimately "Retrograde Summer" is an examination of family, gender and over-population. The story reminds me very favorably of "Exit Strategy" by K. D. Wentworth (FSF, March 2008).