Reviews: Clarkesworld Magazine Sci-Fi Short Stories Short Fiction Reviews

‘When Home, No Need to Cry’ Short Review

When Home, No Need to Cry shows the aftermath of years spent in space amidst the unfiltered radiation. We see an astronaut who is dying slowly from cancer, desperate to return to the only place that feels like home. She struggles to find meaning on Earth, bitter at what her job has cost her, but also at how much she misses being amidst the stars. It’s a heartbreaking piece at times, showing how this mind-blowing experience can alter a person’s life for the negative. Even after the chemo and the treatments and the sadness of a life ended too soon, she still wishes to go back, if only to look out the window and see the blackness of space.

There’s a lot roiling around in the main character’s mind, from excitement at the prospect of returning to the anxiety and frustration at being stuck on the ground. She despises the robots who patrol the hospital, the small bot who mimics a cat but is constantly monitoring patients. At this point in her life, the protagonist doesn’t want more treatment, she just wants to feel like she’s in a home instead of cooped up in a very institutional hospital. You feel for her and try to imagine what it would be like to love something so much, even though it had effectively killed you. It’s a powerful piece, bringing up all kinds of truths to spaceflight and the dangers it brings. The wonder of leaving the comforts of Earth remains, fueling the protagonist in her final days as she floats amidst the plants and prepares for the end. It’s both beautiful and bittersweet imagery.

When Home, No Need to Cry

Written by Erin K. Wagner
Clarkesworld Magazine
March 2019

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