Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slow Life, by Michael Swanwick

Slow Life won the Hugo for Best Novelette in 2003, and for good reason.  It's a fine modern example of a hard SF story, lots of good technological stuff with big ideas.  The setting is Titan, one of the most fascinating places in the solar system.  There's potential for all sorts of weirdness there, so this story isn't that big of a stretch.  We set the scene with a description of a climate based around liquid hydrocarbons that would be gaseous here.  What might be in those oceans?  Life, as it turns out, and intelligent at that.  The title turns on the speculation that life in this setting would have to move slowly, since there isn't much energy.  But that's a matter of perception, and it might in fact be quite fast.  We run through a history in a few hours, with some adventure thrown in.  If you don't like this one, you just don't like hard SF.  But I do.  Four stars.

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