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"The Wind Harp," by Athena Andreadis

"The Wind Harp," up now at Crossed Genres, is a great science fiction story, or really I'd like to say socio-cultural political science fiction story. If part of what you like, in reading or watching science fiction, is the interactions of people of different cultures and the drama of political intrigue, then try this story. Teg-Rav, the new ruler of one of several community on a harsh planet, is in dire circumstances due to a rupture in her community's water reservoir. A Confederation starship has offered aid, but the price is higher than Teg-Rav is willing to pay. Antóa, the protagonist of the story, is a Confederation emissary sent to try to secure a better outcome than the grim ones that seem most likely. There are several other factors that complicate matters, and the way the story works toward resolution, and the resolution itself, are fascinating.

There are a lot of names and terms, so you have to be willing to get up to speed right away. But you can do it! And it's worth it. The characters are brave, determined, intelligent, and thoughtful; their situation is difficult, both personally and politically, and so it's easy to fall in with them.

Have a drink of water near at hand. You'll treasure it by the end.


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