Skip to main content

"Ambidextrose" by Jay Werkheiser

"Ambidextrose" by Jay Werkheiser

This story was published in "Analog Magazine" in the October 2012 issue.

A crew crashes their shuttle into an inhospitable planet.  Only one man, Davis, makes it out alive.  He is rescued by a human who is living on this alien world.  Things are supposed to be poisonous and inedible, but here she is surviving.  In the beginning he is tied down and fixed up on a bed.  It reminded me of Misery, by Stephen King, slightly.  It had that feel to it although later in the story it is nothing like Misery at all.

The planet is backwards compared to earth.  They refer to this ecological system as wrong-handed.  There two different ecological systems living, somehow, in harmony with each other.  Part of the mystery of the story is how these two systems are actually living in harmony.  Normally one ecological system would over run the other, only the strongest survives. 

Food isn’t edible because human bodies can’t digest the amino acids or sugars in the plant life due to the backwards biological make up.  Somehow a group of people have figured out a way to create ways to digest the amino acids, and have found foods that are digestible, called right-handed foods.

The woman and men have different roles that are more suited to the ecological system they are living in.  The woman work and labor and keep homes while raising children.  The term of marriage is not one that they really know about.  The men are nomadic, they “come” and go (pun intended) and if a woman becomes pregnant then MAYBE a man will decide to stick around and claim the baby as his.  Then he will become a mate and a father even if the baby isn’t his child.

The people living on this planet, outside the main colony on the planet, are afraid they will be discovered.  The woman who basically run this little village all meet to determine Davis’s fate.  Do they kill him, imprison him, what to do, what to do?  While the women are in a meeting discussing the Davis’s future, he is pretty sure there is a rescue shuttle that is looking for him at the crash site.  So he takes off running.  What happens?  I’ll let you finish the story and decide for yourself.

I liked this story overall.  I felt that there was some meaning in this story.  How two different cultures that are different like night and day can still coexist peacefully.  Also, that in the end society expansion is inevitable.  You can’t stop progress no matter how much someone might try.  Someone might win a battle and slow down the progression, but in the end the progressive nature of humans will always win.


Popular posts from this blog

"Red Card" by S.L. Gilbow

"Red Card" by S.L. Gilbow
This story comes from the anothology "Brave New Worlds" edited by John Joseph Adams.
This story had an interesting concept.  A government program in Merry Valley gives anonymous and random red cards to some of the residents.  A government issued revolver is also given along with the red card.  These red cards entitle the carrier of the card to become what is known as an "enforcer." 
An enforcer gets to kill one person of their choosing for any reason.  They can kill with impunity, but must follow the laws and guidelines of the program to not get in trouble.  As long as the guidelines are followed there are no repercussions

"Shooting the Apocalypse" by Paolo Bacigalupi

"Shooting the Apocalypse" by Paolo Bacigalupi
This story comes from the anthology "Loosed Upon The World" edited by John Joseph Adams.
The end of the world?  Or maybe just the beginning to the end?  This story was definitely a wake-up call for some of the basic resources we have here on earth.  One of them in particular, water.
Texas has dried up and Phoenix is one of the few towns that still has water.  Phoenix's water supply is served by a canal that connects to the Colorado River.  The canal is called CAP, or Central Arizona Project.  The CAPis made of cementand protected by surrounding chain link fencing.  The CAP is an engineering feat of great magnitude.  The bureaucrats successfully negotiated the project before all of Texas dried up.  In the end Phoenix had better government officials.
Texans are constantly trying to breach the CAP for water.  There is a sort of civil war between Texans and the residents of Phoenix.  They hate each other to the poin…

"The Reach" by Stephen King

"The Reach" by Stephen King
This story has been published many times, originally in Yankee, under the name "Do The Dead Sing", and then later in Skeleton Crew under the name "The Reach."  I read this story in the anthology "The Dark Descent" edited by David G. Hartwell.
An old woman, Stella Flanders,contemplates her time living on an island for her entire life.  She considers things she would say to her children and her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren.  She thinks about everything that has happened on the island and all the things that she has seen.  She thinks about how the island is more of a family than just a community.
Stella Flanders has seen her share of things and it all takes place around The Reach.  That space between the island and mainland.  Mainland where there is life outside of the small community.  Stella never found a need to go across the reach and was content to live right where she was on the island.
Time is…