Root Rot • 2021 • SF novelette by Fargho Tbakhi

★★★+☆☆

Apex magazine had to pause for quite a while due to serious health issues of the editor. But a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2020 funded a whole year, and issue 121 arrived in January 2021. 

Synopsis: The narrator is an alcoholic Palestinian living on Mars in a Palestinian settlement. His brother wants to get him back to Earth, where he would find home in a united nation of Palestine. He only has to pay his transport back, using his only left precious possession. 

Review: This dystopian tale of oppressed people on Mars isn’t a comforting read, and I cannot say that I enjoyed reading it. Too dooming are the topics of alcoholism and depression. I’d rather have read the brother’s story of the independent state of Palestine.

While not exactly entertaining, the portraial is mighty strong, supported by the political extrapolation.

This is the author’s first published SF story, and I’ll watch out for future stories by him. I liked the unconventional topic and the strong narration. Also, don’t miss the interview with him if you like the story. 

Meta: Available online in Apex issue 121.

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