“Starpoint Rendezvous” by E. Craig McKay from Queer Fish (Volume One) from Pink Narcissus Press, 2011. Edited by Margarita Bezdomnya and Rose Mambert.

This story concludes the reviews for this anthology because I already reviewed “Color Zap!” by Sam Sommer from Wilde Stories 2012 (Short Stories 365/194).

There’s a complete world contained in this story. I was blown away by the complexity of the details set forth by the author. Consider:

The pool chamber rotated at a rate independent from the rest of the hotel complex…Crossing the atrium was to become part of an Escher sketch…The dining area provided and unimpeded view of space…filtered and shielded to create the stunning effects of an eclipsed sun with flaming corona.

There’s also a lot about the history of asteroid mining, what it takes to be a space prospector, and how they differ from their Earth predecessors. It’s all very interesting, and very complete. In some ways, it may actually be too complete. We’re given the entire story of the two main characters, Simon and Jeremy – how they met, how they came to be working together in this place, and what obstacles they face. That’s great and it was well done, but after the challenge was introduced I was expecting the story to stay in that particular moment. I thought the overview was finished and we were going to watch them overcome the challenge, but the story summarized the action instead and then jumped ahead to the next challenge. That, too, was summarized, and Jeremy and Simon head off into the sunset. I’m all for HEA, but I think I would have preferred it if we’d been given the most important moment of their lives, really close up. I wonder if this is the rough sketch of a much longer science fiction piece? If so, I’d love to see other incarnations.