Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for This Quiet Dust

"Q" is a very tough letter for short story titles, so I fudged it a smidge.  If you can ignore an "a" or "the" at the beginning of a title, why not "this" as well?  Anyway, "This Quiet Dust" is the story I read for today, so it's the story I'm reviewing.  It's really a wonderful short story.  It was written by Karl Bunker and published in the January/February 2014 issue of Analog.

The protagonist of "This Quiet Dust" is sympathetic, competent, and fairly active.  All of these qualities together make him engaging enough for me to care about the story.  Character-driven stories rock!  Every character in this story has a personality with clear distinctions, despite the fact that this story doesn't take long to develop them.

Even in the few scenes of this story written in omniscient (there are three POVs in this story; the main one is 3rd-limited from the protagonist; the second-most used one is omniscient; a single scene is written from the 3rd-limited POV of another character) the setting intrigued me.  As in any good space opera/hard sci-fi hybrid story (there's a better way of putting it, but I'm tired), the setting makes the story sing.

As far as plot goes, it's small and it crawls, but it's really cool and it ties in the characters and setting very well, which makes it good.  It gets an A-.

Overall, this story is very well done.  It's probably one of my top five favorite sci-fi short stories I've read in the last year, out of about sixteen or so (by rough estimate).  Check it out.


  1. I like the title of your blog. I had to look up the word maw, though: "the mouth, throat, or gullet of an animal; esp. A carnivorous mammal" Who'd a thought I've had a maw all this time and didn't even know it? I'm somewhat insulted by that last part though I'm so much more than a carnivorous mammal. Anyway, nice review. I like good sci-fi.