The Deeps of the Sky • 2012 • Science Fiction short story by Elizabeth Bear

★★★

Meta: isfdb. This SF short story appeared 2012 in Edge of Infinity. It was a finalist for 2013 Locus award and is freely available at io9.

Synopsis:  The perils and pitfalls of aliens sky-mining storms in a gas giant’s troposphere. Main protagonist Stormchases is a sentient alien who tries to mine enough raw material as a kind of dowry for mating with one of those huge man-of-war similar females. He nearly got it when he rescues a strange visitor out of the storm and that way comes into contact with humans.

Review:  Initially, I was overwhelmed with sometimes incomprehensible technical explanations about atmosphere and the mining conditions. Bear mitigates this by using an alien as a point of view while maintaining distance and thus avoiding humanizing the aliens. They remain alien, and we learn a lot about this strange setting in only a couple of pages. The story is all about world-building; there are nearly no character development or emotions built into the story. It excels by its atmosphere.

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