Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Feast of St. Janis, by Michael Swanwick

The Feast of St. Janis is a Nebula Award nominated story from 1980. And it's one of the very few stories I have read that combine the energy of rock music with any hard SF elements at all.
The basic elements of the story are a world role reversal--after the Collapse (seemingly involving running out of oil) America is a broken country, and Africa is on the rise. A trade representative is sent from Africa to make a deal for the best of what America has left--education and innovation. The protagonist ends up on tour with a Janis Joplin tribute singer. The singer basically reproduces Joplin's ballistic career, with our protagonist along for the ride.
It's really well-told, Swanwick really rises to his subject matter here. Finished off with a poignant ending, it's a story you can really say you are glad you read. Four stars, easily

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