The ED SF Project

The Ellen Datlow/SCI FICTION Project, that is. We're showing the love for five and a half years of great short fiction, and we need your help! We've got over 300 stories to cover, so if you're a person who loves short speculative fiction, we want you. Go here to read the list and add your voice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"Goddesses" by Linda Nagata: An Appreciation by Pete Tillman

Global Shear (Asia) has won a ten-year contract to govern a poor district in south India, replacing the failed local bureaucracy. Their charge: to lift 16 million people out of poverty. Their incentive: a percentage of the new wealth they'll help to create. Michael Fielding, the new project manager, finds a battered street waif on his doorstep and takes her in, which lands him in hot water with his boss, his housekeeper and the local fundies.

Cody Graham is a founder of Green Stomp, a bioremediation firm with a new microbe that eats perchloroethylene ("perk") dry-cleaning fluid, a common pollutant. Cody's a scholarship kid, up from an industrial slum in California. She's smart, successful--and lonely.

This is a profoundly hopeful near-future love-story--hopeful that technology can improve poor peoples' lives, and enrich the rich helpers' lives in the process. Nagata writes with assurance and grace, touching on wealth & poverty, women & men, love, charity, religion and how we'll live a few years from now--all without being preachy or dull. One of that year's best, and a Nebula award-winner. Not to be missed.

Link to story.

(This review first appeared, in a slightly different version, at SF Site: Link)

Pete Tillman


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