Sunday, 22 July 2018

Review: Night's Slow Poison

Night's Slow Poison Night's Slow Poison by Ann Leckie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story is available online at https://www.tor.com/2014/06/10/nights-slow-poison-ann-leckie

Nicely worked story of a watchman on a cargo ship's encounter with one of its passengers. Neatly linking watchman Kels' memory of being bitten by a 'tea vonda' as a youth and consequential loss of his arm as its poison rapidly spread with the ***SPOILER ALERT *** infiltration of the ship by the passenger, a spy in search of the route through the Crawl, the defensive perimeter surrounding the planet Ghaon. The passenger's deception is the 'slow poison' of the title, taking months to take effect. His cover story, of travelling to search for his unknown Ghaonish grandmother, softens Kels as he sees the eyes of high born Ghaon in the passeneger's face making his recall he own lost love for a high born Ghaon woman. However, Kels does 'step up' to 'do the right thing' when the spy is exposed in order to safeguard the secret route from the enemy the spy is contracted to, the Radchaai, whom all Ghoanians believe covet their planet and its resources.

ashramblings verdict 3* Leckie created a thoroughly believeable experience of life aboard a space cargo ship on a long journey, the boredom, the monotony, the peaks and troughs of passenger interactions, the claustrophobia, as month after month drag by. In an interesting cultural aspect to some of the characters they wear masks, while others and other cultures do not. In this tale the passenger does not wear such a mask, but has one nonetheless until his spy persona is revealed. Lots of ideas in play here, making the story a bit busy but then than just increases the claustrophobia and the paranoia

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