The first is Lois Tilton:
Contamination. A human colony on a planet gifted to them by an apparently benevolent alien race, with a space station in orbit. A disease that begins with a single human and spreads rapidly, regardless of precautions. The story is told by a succession of victims, some of whom seem to be dead as they compose their message, illustrating the variety of responses to the growing crisis – some selfless, some otherwise. The conclusion adds an explanation, but I find it a bit disappointing, as distracting from the original premise.
The second is Sherry Decker:
Here is a tale about mistakes made by characters with good intentions. It’s about how ambition and jealousy and selfishness relate to viruses destined to destroy themselves by eliminating their hosts. It’s about forgiveness and the lack of forgiveness, and how prejudice, while wrong in its original concept, sometimes under extreme circumstances, turns out to be correct. This story is about suspicion and pride and how these flaws ultimately bring down civilizations.
While I appreciate the intelligence behind the story, the story itself lacked excitement. I realize it’s difficult to develop danger and consequence in short fiction. “Sirius” seemed more devoted to the emotions of the characters than their actions. Emotions are important but, in my humble opinion, story is more interesting. The strongest parts of “Sirius” are in dialogue, but the introspection and the narrative dominate.
The author depends on the common devices could see, could hear, could feel. What’s wrong with, I saw, I heard, I felt? The reader also must slow down for the occasional awkward use of an adverb, such as in adrift brokenly. Ever consider how adverbs are notoriously weak? Why do so many writers depend on these amateurish methods and refuse to consider other techniques? I cannot imagine what horrible disaster would have befallen us if the description of the space station had been adrift, broken. Sometimes stylistic cleverness is a mistake.
In “Sirius” we hear from seven different characters. They are unique and interesting in their telling of the story. They all have motives, ambition and a certain amount of compassion.
“Sirius” is based on a strong idea. Perhaps it should have been a novella, with more time spent on action and plot instead of mired in the interaction between characters. Other readers may have a different opinion.
Link to Sirius.