“The Gaps in Translation” by Andrea Corbin

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Oct 15, 2014 in Reviews

Crossed Genres
http://crossedgenres.com/magazine/013-the-gaps-in-translation/
Author Website: http://www.sharedepic.com/

In this story of a second contact, three humans visit a world inhabited by lizard-like people, some hundred years after the first contact. They are greeted by immediate differences based on what they’ve learned from the recordings of the first contact, specifically the flying “gliders” the lizzies now ride upon. Even the language has evolved, giving Miranda, the linguistics expert of the group, some trouble:

««Hello,»» Jago said, in the best lizzie that he had picked up from the old recordings. The lizzies hesitated and looked at him. Their faces were enough like humans that Miranda was almost fooled into thinking she could read the expression, but she caught herself. It looked like one of them smiled in amusement, but it could be a grimace, indicating offense.

««Hello,»» one of them replied. It looked at each of them in turn. ««You can come —- you will meet —– who —- you.»»

Miranda understood only pieces of what it said. Their chips were set to listen and recalibrate at first, making Miranda’s background studying theoretical neurolinguistics even more valuable for a few days. Though she was the expert on the lizzie language, she had trouble catching everything. The accent seemed to have changed and Miranda’s ear wasn’t ready for it.

««Repeat, please. Come where?»»

The lizzie clapped its hands, and curled its tail. Pleased. That was an action she’d seen in the recordings. It’d been a hundred years since the first brief visit. Enough time to record and observe, enough data to study that Miranda could learn to speak well enough.

I’m a sucker for linguistics stories, and love how language unfolds and mutates, so this was right up my alley. The lizard aliens were great, and I particularly enjoyed the terse and coy comments by Co, the elder lizard who was alive for the first contact. I really got a good feeling for the lizard culture and it seemed both alien and familiar at the same time. I was curious to learn more about their gender roles, though the story left that open. My one big hangup with this is that I never really bought into the human characters. Their actions seemed a little arbitrary to me and their decisions unfocused and unclear, especially towards the end of the story. While they were believable, even enjoyable as characters, I just didn’t believe that someone, somewhere would have decided they were the best fit for a mission as important as a second contact. That aside, this was a fun read, and it explores some interesting themes on the influences cultures can have upon one another.

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“Space Travel Loses its Allure When You’ve Lost Your Moon Cup” by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Oct 1, 2014 in Reviews

Crossed Genres, July 2014 (Issue 19)
http://crossedgenres.com/magazine/019-space-travel-loses-its-allure/
Author Website: http://www.intrigue.co.uk/

 

Short Women in Space, Review #1

So, yeah, periods in space. Might as well go there on this first review, right? Let’s take a quick peek at the opening:

Zero G and three light years from the nearest drugstore is a shitty time to realize that you left your spare moon cup at the space station.

Tonight I lost mine to the relief tube. The stuffy musk-and-lemon smell of the hold was invaded by the sharp tang of blood. I was half-asleep, trying to empty it without fuss in the dark. The relief tube suction was just strong enough to whisk the cup out of my still-asleep slick fingers.

There you go, big time problem is introduced right there in the first two paragraphs, accompanied by the perfect amount of sensory detail to pull me in. I can almost feel the moon cup (apparently already a thing) slip from my own fingers, down the chute of the space toilet, and into oblivion.

In that split moment, her fun, care-free, seven-month voyage to Barnard’s Star becomes a bloody nightmare. Cargo space is too precious to allow for storage of bulky feminine products, so she is forced to improvise. Oh my goodness, I could feel for her. Sylvia does an exquisite job of painting the desperation of this woman in so few words. Half of the audience can immediately relate. We’ve been there. Maybe not caught out in the desolation of space, but when you’re unprepared, it doesn’t matter much if the nearest drugstore is a seven blocks away or seven light years.

Overall, this was a quick, fun read, and if you’re further interested in the logistics of menstruation in zero gravity, check out The Straight Dope. Apparently, it’s no big thing, just as it is for the most part here on Earth. If you’re already crapping in peeing in a big diaper, seriously, what’s one more bodily fluid? Ick. No wonder we never saw any restrooms on Star Trek.



 

 

Valentina Tereshkova, First Woman in Space

REAL Women in Space Valentina Tereshkova
First Woman in Space
Vostok 6 (Jun. 16, 1963)
Creative Commons

 

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