Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spiders by Sue Burke

A father and his five-year-old son take a tour of alien flora and fauna in a forest on another planet. The parents have split and the father is interested in helping the boy learn about the world outside of the settlement where he lives with his mother. The story is sure-handed and perceptive on parenting issues. The variety and mystery of the flora and fauna is quite effective.

It’s unlikely that this story can be read now without reference to the movie Avatar (directed by James Cameron, 2009), a comparison the author can’t have intended. The plant life depicted in Avatar is beautifully done (one of the few strengths of the film according to SF Strangelove), yet this brief story surpasses it with ease, engaging special effects more powerful than any at James Cameron’s disposal: the reader’s imagination.

“Spiders” by Sue Burke first appeared in Asimov’s, March 2008.
Link: Year’s Best SF 14 summation and table of contents


  1. A publisher wants to buy the novel, and as soon as the contract is signed, I'll say more.

    And thanks for your kind words!

  2. My apologies for leaving your comment in "moderation limbo" for five days. I plead lame-brained absence from blogging.

    That's good news about interest from a publisher. Best of luck with the novel and I do hope to hear more.