Una McCormack's science fiction novella was a thought-provoking surprise. Monica Greatorex, a famous journalist, is contemplating the six decades of her life, the condition of the world she grew up in, the changes that have taken place, the politics of the known worlds...and their repercussions.
She's traveled widely, reporting on wars, migration, and suffering, and now she is returning to the almost abandoned world that sheltered and cosseted her until she was twelve.
As millions of refugees are fleeing to the Commonwealth and the Core, Monica heads the other way, despite knowing that "they are coming." She is accompanied by her jenjer Gale, a genetically modified human being, Monica has a one-way ticket to Sienna, and from there, she will go to Torello, her small hometown.
The jenjer are mentioned, but not truly explained. They are indentured servants, taken for granted, reliant on medication. Until the conclusion, they are kept quite vague. The technique works well--I was immediately curious, wanting more information, and subtly prepared for what would come.
On Monica's arrival to her childhood planet and small hometown, her memories immediately surface, giving her more clarity, more detail of past circumstances, and more understanding of how the Commonwealth insured its own decline. The reflection on her childhood understanding of events has had a subconscious effect on her life that she only confronts and clearly comprehends at sixty.
McCormack's understated approach to Monica's life refuses to give an overly emotional account of what will be the end of the worlds as Monica has known them. Monica the journalist is in action, not writing and recording, but prepared to bear witness.
The beginning is slow and cryptic, but as soon as Monica and Gale arrive in Torello, the story takes a curious and more intriguing turn as we view events through the eyes of twelve-year-old Monnie.
I definitely want more of Una McCormack.
Science Fiction/Contemporary relevance. May 14, 2019. Print length: 112 pages