Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

‘On K2 With Kanakaredes’ by Dan Simmons

with 3 comments

Here’s a story leading off this so-called cutting edge anthology that could have been published anywhere in the science fiction field in the last forty years… I could see this one in the Saturday Evening Post in 1968, for crissakes.

So says Al Sarrantonio, instantly undermining half his rationale for inclusion. He is right. This is essentially a mountaineering story with aliens thrown in. He justifies its inclusion – in “doth protest too much” language – on the grounds that it is good.

It is pretty good. Mountaineering is inherently dramatic and Simmons is skillful enough to make the best use of this. It remains a story about an attempt to summit on K2 though. The framing device is unconvincing and although there are a couple of nice touches around the inclusion of Kanakaredes, a six-limbed alien, in the climbing party he is mostly a silent partner.

Quality: ***
Shiftiness: *

Graham asked about a running total. I’m not sure exactly what he meant but a running cummulative score for the anthology would be pointless and I can’t be bothered to do a running average. You’ll have to wait until I’ve read all thirty stories.

Part of Redshift.

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Written by Martin

19 April 2009 at 16:29

Posted in sf, short stories

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Ah, dang. I was hoping that you would just keep deducting points, as you did with the intro, in order that the anthology would end up with minus-several-kerjillion. (I think there are several really good stories in the book, but Sarrantonio’s editorial personality is hugely offputting.)

    Graham Sleight

    19 April 2009 at 17:25

  2. Sarrantonio’s editorial personality is hugely offputting

    Yes, those mini-introductions to each story were really a mistake.

    Martin

    19 April 2009 at 18:03

  3. [...] a comment » Redshift opened with a novella but this is the first one since. The extra space gives Hand a chance to go into more detail than [...]


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