The Anomalous Archive, Part XIV: 'Transit of Gem' by Pete Koziar

[This review was originally posted on the Anomaly forum on October 30, 2010.]

 "Transit of Gem," 2nd in Issue 5 of The Cross and the Cosmos

In "Transit of Gem" by Pete Koziar, we have a story with a strong and engaging narrative. I find the premise of the story to be fascinating. The author successfully combines science fiction with Christian prophecy, using an epic-style narrative. There is a lot of profound dialog, reminiscent of the elevated style of Tolkien and older classic high fantasy. I read this story out loud to my ten-year-old sister, and she seemed to like it and to basically understand it.

The prose is not highly refined. The omniscient point-of-view suffers from too much telling too often. The setting is not described with enough details to make the world seem real and tangible in the reader's imagination.

This weakness is especially evident with the characters, which are essentially explained instead of demonstrated. My impression of the main character throughout the story was that he was quite a bit older than the approximate age implied. The other important character's age is even more ambiguous; when she is first introduced, it is very possible to assume that she is a little girl until the very end renders that mental image of the character impossible. Two side character who appear briefly in the story contribute much to the understanding of the setting, and add a dimension of sensitivity. However, their impact is less than it could have been if more specific details of their interaction had been shown.

The basic premise of this story is excellent. We have a near utopia (but not a perfect utopia), and unlike most utopian science fiction, the world of this story has very good reason to be a utopia, if I understood the hints of worldbuilding throughout the story at all. Still, I'm skeptical of some of the worldbuilding -- in such a future as postulated by the setting, would one really browse "employment listings" and go to interviews in order to find a new job, not unlike we do in our own time and our own culture? I don't mean to imply that a utopia would necessarily be socialistic, but I don't think it would be the same as American capitalism, either. Maybe I would have been more convinced if the story had been more descriptive, allowing me to see more details of the utopian future that are different from our own society.

I'm tempted to say flat-out what I feel certain the setting of this story is, but I will let those who may not have yet read "Transit of Gem" have the thrill of figuring it out for themselves, which is worth doing even though the story has its share of flaws.

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