A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel • 2013 • Alternate history short story by Ken Liu

★★★

Synopsis After WWI, the U.S. and Japanese goverments decide to build a tunnel under the Pacific Ocean, bridging the two continents, mitigating effects of the Great Depression. It completely changes the course of history: There is no WWII, the Japanese Empire stays. The story concentrates on one of the diggers and his relationship to an American woman at Midpoint City under the ocean. It reflects on the man’s memories of abuses and slavery during the build.

Review A fascinating contrast of the urge to speak about racism, Civil Rights and the need to shut up. Liu manages it to narrate these tough questions with a touching love story. The interesting thing is that the story doesn’t need any action, working just as a re-telling of the protagonist’s life.

Meta: isfdb. This SF short story was published January 2013 in The Magazine of SF&F. I read it as part of The Paper Menagerie.

 

 

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