Nine Last Days on Planet Earth: A Tor.com Original by Daryl Gregory
My rating: 4/5 cats
Words were not required. Sometimes the only way you could tell someone you loved them was to show them something beautiful. Sometimes, he thought, you have to send it from very far away.
there’s a lot here. and if i’m going to stick to my SHORT REVIEW FOR A SHORT STORY vow; the one that’s meant to protect me from overthinking a handful of pages of writing – or at any rate, over-reviewing them – spending more time writing the review than it took me to read the story, well, i’m not even going to be able to scratch the surface of this one.
how he managed to do so much in so little space is beyond me.
the title, which tells you what to expect from the story, structure-wise, is perfect, bittersweet, and also a little sneaky. each of the segments marks the “last” of something in a character’s life, but it’s not always clear what that “something” is. for example, the 1978 section’s “last” was unclear to me until it was revealed in 2007, four chapters later: LT thought about that day they ran from the thistles. Funny how you don’t know the last day you’ll see someone. and THAT’S the kind of smooth subtle writerly shit i love and is especially pleasing to come across in a short story.
to be honest, the science stuff – invasive species biological evolutionary global warming alien spores pollination etc – for me, that was all wallpaper. but the arc of lt’s life, his family, the changes and dynamics and developments and the ratio of stated/implied, how much was conveyed in such a relatively short page count. just, damn.
if i keep going, i’m going to break my vow, but do go give this one a read. it’s a short story bursting at the seams with compressed, barely contained layers. it seethes.
read it for yourself here: