‘On K2 With Kanakaredes’ by Dan Simmons
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.
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.