Longer, Michael Blumlein (Tor.com Publishing 978-1-250-22981-6, $15.99, 234pp, tp) May 2019.
In direct contrast to Stephenson’s much-muchness sits Michael Blumlein’s Longer. In this novella, he folds idea upon idea and builds distinct characters who are in constant and subtle movement. Longer packs so many interesting moments into its compact structure that it is a challenge to not turn immediately back to the first pages after you read the end, so that you can unpack more of what you might have missed the first time around.
The story concerns two married researchers, Gunjita and Cav, who are on a space station in order to develop a gravity-sensitive drug for Gleem Galactic. If refined, said drug would expand human life even further. As it stands in Blumlein’s 22nd century, we can rejuvenate ourselves twice before our inevitable decline. Gunjita has returned her body to its twenties for the second time; Cav is resisting.
The pair discover what might be alien life on a passing asteroid – and their perambulations around it and each other is what kicks off this dense tale about relationships, science, ethics, and capitalism. Blumlein’s story does its best work in the spaces between the words, somehow. You know what each character is thinking or motivated by without ever explicitly being told. It’s like a magic trick, and one that Blumlein specializes in.
Adrienne Martini has been reading or writing about science fiction for decades and has had two non-fiction, non-genre books published by Simon and Schuster. She lives in Upstate New York with one husband, two kids, and one corgi. She also runs a lot.
This review and more like it in the June 2019 issue of Locus.
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