The year without sunshine written by Naomi Kritzer in the Uncanny 56

There are lots of short stories that I do not read to the end any more. In fact, I often just stop in the middle of the first page.

If it does not catch me at the beginning, why bother?


With this story, there was not the least bit of temptation to move away. My kindle told me it would be a one-hour-read, but I gladly spent the time, I was even a bit sad when I reached the end. I would have liked to spend more time with the narrator Alexis, her friend Tanesha, Cliff and Susan, Jake, and all the others. I see that the story (the year without sunshine) was over, so of course the story had to end, but I would have been more than willing to read what the neighborhood will do afterwards. They are all my friends now, somehow.


You can read the full novelette for free here.

What it's about?

A disaster happens and for one year, almost now sunshine comes through, which is bad for the solar panels and growing crops, but also puts a stop to civilization: no phones, no internet.

Water keeps coming, and so does electricity, but there are lots of gaps where there is no electricity. Only one house in the neighborhood has a generator and when Alexis finally checks on every household which does not yet use the "Whatsup"-hut in somebody's garden (with old-school messages on paper instead of a WhatsApp-group), she learns why:

There live Cliff and Susan, and Susan's life depends on her oxygen concentrator, which runs on electrivity.


Although there are other problems to deal with, which are addressed in the novelette, Susan's oxygen concentrator really shows what the end of civilization as we know it, can mean for us. 

When the propane is gone and the electricity fails again, Susan will die. At some point, the gaps get longer and the neighborhood findes another solution: a bike generator. Up to twelve people can bike for susan's concentrator.


I know I spoil a bit, but there still is so much to enjoy in this novelette, so please check out this bit of dialogue when Alexis and Tanesha try so acquire more people to bike for electricity and some just say no.


"It's very sad and all, but it's not like the lady who needs oxygen is going to get better," he said. "You're just delaying the inevitable."

Tanesha gave him a narrow-ayed look: "You delay the inevitable every time you eat lunch."

"That's different."

"It's really not," she said.


Kritzer shows more than one way to deal with a difficult situation and that's what this story is about, which is shown in the character of Jake near the end of the story. 


I just enjoyed the story so much, I will check out other prose of this author.

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