The Prodigal Son • 2014 • Arkwright SF series novella by Allen Steele


Matt is jobless and broke, a real slacker. His grandma gave him a one-way ticket to a Caribbean island where he will start in a new job as an assitant press representative for his family’s privately founded space flight program. He falls in love with a PhD nerdy girl. At this time, it is perfectly clear how the story turns and there are no further surprises any more – Matt’s turn of faith, the last-second disaster caused by a religious zealot, the elaborate infodumps about the space program. It ends with the spaceship’s takeoff, leading to the Arkwright Foundation series‘ next installation.

I didn’t buy into the far too optimistic idea of quasi instant terraforming, or that robots would raise humans from egg, nor into genetic adaptions by A.I.

The plot line was quite predictive and boring, the narration too wordy. I guess, it is targeting soap opera junk food readers. seems to believe in this tale, as it planning a novelization.

Meta: ISFDB. First published October 2014 in Asimov’s. I’ve read it in The Years Best SF #32.


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