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Tangent Short Fiction Review

posted Nov 27, 2009, 9:37 AM by Jonathan Sherwood   [ updated Dec 21, 2009, 8:33 AM ]

- Suzanne Church, 

 The hard Science Fiction offering in the issue is Jonathan Sherwood’s "Under the Graying Sea."  Right from the first sentence, Tessa is in danger, thrusting through massive gees in her Concussion Vehicle (CV) with her partner, Loránd, slingshotting around the moon to enter a man-made wormhole.  The two pilots' bodies have been reinforced to withstand up to twenty-four gees, but the CV malfunctions and they pull thirty-two-point-eight, causing life-threatening injuries to Loránd.  Stuck over two light years from Earth and forced to wait over four hours for their return window, Tessa busies herself checking "Betty," the wormhole anchor, and discovers the multiple course adjustments that Betty has made since the last human inspection: a gravity well. 

Sherwood intertwines flashbacks about Tessa's relationship with her father, her first exposure to the wormhole project, and her fear of the gray sea of space.  As she fights to save her partner's life and solve the problem of Betty's decaying flight path, Sherwood packs the prose with scientific details.

Filled with suspense, passion, and cleverness, "Under the Graying Sea" stands above the other stories as the strongest contribution to the issue.