Sunday, June 10, 2012
Review of Naomi Kritzer's Liberty's Daughter
Liberty's Daughter by Naomi Kritzer appears in the current (May/June 2012) issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine. It is a science fiction/mystery novelette of about 13,000 words set in the not-too-distant future on a seastead in the Pacific Ocean about 220 miles off the coast of California. I was particularly delighted to read a story with such a setting, as I have been following the concept of seasteading with great interest over the past two years. If I were a wealthy man, I would do whatever I could to make seasteading a reality...or maybe a moon or Martian base, I'm kind of torn. Anyway, check out www.seasteading.org to learn more about this intriguing, plausible alternative to our current geopolitical systems.
The story is told from the POV of a resourceful sixteen-year-old girl who lives with her wealthy and influential father on a seastead. She has a part-time job as a "finder," which is literally someone who finds things. Apparently, seastead life is great and the freedom is wonderful until you want size 9 1/2 pink pumps or some other specific item. Supply boats are few and far between, and travel to California is expensive, time-consuming, and, for some, ill-advised--as for those who immigrated to a 'stead to escape paying the outrageous income taxes that make me angry every day. Anywaaaay, the girl's job gets interesting--and dangerous--when she is asked to find a missing person.
I enjoyed the story because of the setting--how could I not given my interest in seasteading? It was because of this interest that I was able to overlook that the story not only was being told from the POV of a teenaged girl, but seemed to be written by one as well. I hope that other, better authors will be inspired by Ms. Kritzer's juvenile, yet nevertheless pioneering, work and give us higher quality stories set in the fascinating world of seasteading. It would be especially interesting to read these stories fifty to sixty years from now and see what the science fiction writers predicted correctly--and what they did not.