Everything Is Nice

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

‘Kyrie’ by Poul Anderson

with 2 comments

‘Kyrie’ is slightly the victim of its structure but I enjoyed it and it is one of surprisingly few stories that actually fits the billing of the anthology. At its heart is the interstellar relationship between a telepathic space nun and a dragon made out pure energy which, despite my silly description, is both rigorous and touching. The nun’s relationship with her atheist and uncomprehending captain is also nicely done. Anderson writes like a human, a rare treat in this context.

The structural issues are there from the beginning though. ‘Kyrie’ opens with a description of a lunar convent and its sisters: “They minister to the sick, the needy, the crippled, the insane, all whom space has broken and cast back.” So you know it probably isn’t going to have a happy ending. Then, at the halfway point, a scientist is wheeled on to give a infodump about singularities. So you know what the unhappy ending is likely to involve. This then leads to total pathos overload.

Quality: ***
Hardness: ***

Written by Martin

11 August 2010 at 08:07

2 Responses

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  1. Ah, I like this story, and I often remember it


    11 August 2010 at 09:40

  2. […] ‘Kyrie’ by Poul Anderson ‘The Person From Porlock’ by Raymond F. Jones ‘Day Million’ by Frederik Pohl ‘Cage Of Sand’ by JG Ballard ‘The Psychologist Who Wouldn’t Do Awful Things To Rats’ by James Tiptree Jr. ‘In the Year 2889′ by Jules Verne ‘Surface Tension’ by James Blish  ‘No, No, Not Rogov!’ by Cordwainer Smith ‘In A Petri Dish Upstairs’ by George Turner ‘With The Night Mail’ by Rudyard Kipling ‘The Longest Science Fiction Story In The World’ by Arthur C Clarke ‘The Pi Man’ by Alfred Bester ‘Relativistic Effects’ by Gregory Benford ‘Making Light’ by James P. Hogan ‘The Last Question’ by Isaac Asimov ‘The Indefatigable Frog’ by Philip K. Dick ‘Chromatic’ by John M. Ford ‘The Snowball Effect’ by Katherine McLean ‘The Morphology Of The Kirkham Wreck’ by Hilbert Schenck ‘Tangents’ by Greg Bear ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ by William Gibson ‘What Continues, What Fails…’ by David Brin ‘Mammy Morgan Played the Organ; Her Daddy Beat the Drum’ by Michael F. Flynn ‘Bookworm, Run!’ by Vernor Vinge […]

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