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Inertia: An intriguing Scifi Tale about a Quarantined Town

Inertia by Nancy Kress


I just finished a massive book series and decided to resort to short stories for a little while. To do so, I returned to the Eighth Edition of the Year’s Best Scifi. This time around the short is called Inertia by Nancy Kress. And here is my review.

The story follows Sarah. She is a grandmother living in a crumbling apartment with her daughter and granddaughters. It’s not the best living standards, but they do their best with what they got, because they are cut off from the outside world. Their Californian town had an outbreak of disfiguring, highly contagious disease. And after failed attempt after failed attempt to find the cure, her town (as well as other towns and cities) were walled off from the rest of the world and forgotten. Nearly fifty years after they had been abandoned, a single doctor arrives from the outside world to interview Sarah. He wants to learn more about the infection. He claims he has found a cure, but what he calls a cure is quite a strange interpretation of what a cure can be.

The good? It’s an interesting personal story. To see it follow on an elderly character trying to do her best between this doctor and her own dysfunctional family is unique. Also, to see this woman weigh the pros and cons for her granddaughters is interesting. She questions whether there is a better world beyond those walls. It has some unique twists and turns.

The bad? This was written in 1990 and follows that weird early nineties trope that American will collapse from civil unrest, riots, and gang wars. This theme ties into this story heavily and it just seems silly now. The fact that this was a once a trope is hard to take seriously.

Overall. This is a nice scifi story. It makes the reader question things like good scifi should. It has its twists and tunes, but it’s quite simple. For the most part, this just an interview. It’s an okay read but not a must read. It’s slightly above average.


3 Smoothies out of five.

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Overall Rating: An intriguing Scifi Tale about a Quarantined Town

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