Exploding, Like Fireworks by Pat Murphy


Exploding, Like Fireworks by Pat Murphy
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (16 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

On the space station known as Moon Talk, engineers and poets work together to prototype and manufacture communications satellites. The founder of the station decided to include poets because they specialize in communicating high-density information in very short bursts.

Angel, a 20-year-old robotics engineer, is visiting Moon Talk on a poetry/engineering internship when an accident on the station’s hull leaves her paralyzed. Unable to return to Earth where the relentless pull of gravity would kill her, Angel must make the station her home.

Though her body is trapped, the poets and engineers who run Moon Talk find a way for Angel’s consciousness to escape the confines of the station. The robotics staff jacks Angel first into a robotic unit on the station’s hull, and then into a body that can move about the station’s interior. She inhabits a robotic probe that prospects among the orbiting rocks of the asteroid belt. But that’s just the beginning of Angel’s journey.

How would you adapt to a new sense? Can machines absorb the personality of their human host?

Angel’s predicament is a terrible one. How does one grow accustomed to spending the rest of your life in a space station clinic after a horrific accident leaves you too medically fragile to return to earth? In her shoes I would have felt just as angry as she does at the thought of never returning home. Luckily she is able to channel her disappointment into the determination she needs to conquer new technology. I can’t imagine controlling several robots at once with my mind or experiencing the wonders of space without ever actually leaving my bed. Her adventures becomes even more poignant when Angel is given an unusual choice and makes a decision that changes the course of human history forever.

I would have preferred to see a more thorough explanation of how Angel survived the accident. While the space station she lives on is quite technologically advanced it was a stretch to believe they’d have access to all of the specialized equipment necessary to keep a quadriplegic alive. While it is certainly possible that such items could be shipped from earth I had some trouble believing they would have arrived in time to save Angel’s life. The damage to her spinal cord was extensive and sounded like the kind of injury that would grow even more dangerous over time if the patient isn’t stabilized.

Exploding, Like Fireworks reads like the first chapter in a novel. For every question that is answered another one is born and while it ends quite satisfactorily I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing more from these characters. In the meantime this is the perfect book for anyone who has ever wished they could float through space and discover the wonders out there no human eye has ever seen.

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