Sunday, May 25, 2008

More from Spiral Galaxy

In my last post, I copied the part of the critique of Baen's Universe from Spiral Galaxy Reviews that covered my story in the overall context of the issue. Here is Karen Burnham's actual appraisal of the story:

Next we get the science fantasy by Lou Antonelli, titled "The Witch of Waxahachie." The hero is a newspaper editor who tags along as a scientist tries to run one last experiment on the incomplete ruins of the Superconducting Super Collider in Texas. (They claim this is being done secretly. You really can't power up something like the SSC quietly, but it's easy to give the author that bit of hand-waving.) After the inevitable catastrophe, they find they're in the same place, but the SSC is gone, the road is dirt, there's no cars... They hitch a ride into town, and luckily get to an encyclopedia set before being picked up by the authorities. (A trick also used by Robert Heinlein's world-hoppers in Job and The Number of the Beast. An excellent argument for never going completely digital—how else will dimension-hopping protagonists gather the vital information they need?) In this new world, the advances of the Enlightenment focused on magic instead of science. It turns out that each person exists in both universes, and their different fates are sobering. They get back home relatively easily after comparing notes with the folks they know on the other side. It looks like Antonelli is setting up a story cycle here, since at the end the narrator reminisces about other adventures they've had with their other-world counterparts. This is a fun story with a lot of potential in the world-building, so I'll look forward to other stories in this setting.

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