I don’t usually review short stories because I don’t generally have much to say about them beyond, “I liked this!”, “Eh,” or “Yuck!” Which doesn’t tell you much about the story except whether or not I enjoyed it. However, I set myself the task this year of reviewing all award-winners (except those that I won’t read because they’re YA, or horror, or just “can’t push myself through it”.)
“Give the Family My Love” won the Nebula for Best Short Story of 2019 and it is a worthy example of a science fiction short story. Set in the not-too-distant future, the story is several letters written by Hazel to her brother Sam. The current ecological issues have escalated to actual disasters, but the alien race that has recently showed up have given us the ability to go through their archives to try to correct those issues. They will transport a representative, but that representative has to make it through a kilometer of unforgiving, unlivable landscape to get there.
The story isn’t really about the search for solutions, though. It’s about family, the decision and problems with deciding to become a parent, the relationship between siblings, and what people will do to support their families. The title is repeated throughout the story, meaning something a little different every time, but always centering around family and love.
Go read it. It’s delightful.
Greenblatt, A. T. “Give the Family My Love.” (Clarkesworld, February 2019.) 28 pages. 5 stars.