Nebula Shorts: A.T.Greenblatt – Give the Family My Love

The first of my Nebula Finalist short story reviews is AT Greenblatt’s space faring letter home.

“Sorry to do this to you, Saul, but if I don’t talk to someone—well, freak out at someone—I’m not going to make it to the Library. And like hell I’m going to send a message like this back to the boys on the program. You, at least, won’t think less of me for this. You know that emotional meltdowns are part of my process.
850 meters. I should have listened to you, Saul.”

An astronaut on a distance planet sends a voice message home to her brother that recounts her current experience and explores their shared past and personal differences. More conventional and less ambitious than last years And Yet... the story imagines a journey to an alien library. While the technologically advanced aliens will provide passage to the distant planet where the library sits, the final approach has to be made by a visitor’s own efforts (aided by their own technology). We first meet the astronaut as she makes her way painfully across the inhospitable surface to the mysterious library. The opening would almost work if it simply stopped at the point where she reaches the library door, with her environment suit failing and with no guarantee that the librarians will let her in…

The story continues and we learn about the environmental disaster back on Earth and the hope to find research to help the planet. The twist is that the research is all from Earth, that the solutions to the problems were all found in the past but suppressed or lost.

I find that I don’t have a great deal to say about the story itself. It’s fine. There are no big flaws but no big surprises. The tension for me drained out of the story once she is in the library and the various parts (the alienness of the library, the quest fro Dr Ryu’s research and her relationship with her brother) didn’t really pull together for me.

There are some lovely ideas here, in particular the library and the roaming aliens who collect things for it. The writing is engaging enough that even though the story fell flat for me, I still found it readable. However, overall not a compelling story for me.


10 responses to “Nebula Shorts: A.T.Greenblatt – Give the Family My Love”

  1. It’s been a while since I read this. But I recall frustration at the narrator and some snapping of my suspenders of disbelief. As you said, some interesting ideas though. I gave it a 3 out of 5.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, apparently others are getting more out of this than we are as it is now also the winner of the Clarkesworld Readers Poll:

    As I said earlier, I liked her other Clarkesworld story better. And my favorite of the top 3 is 3rd place winner “The Sun from Both Sides” by R.S.A. Garcia.


    • Either that, or Clarkesworld didn’t have a lot of strong stories this year.

      I’ll have a look at the stories you recommend, Laura. Thanks.


      • I was actually fairly impressed with Clarkesworld last year. In particular, I noticed that I enjoyed quite a few of the translations better than I have in previous years. Also, Clarke did far less reprints in favor of original stories – 70 in total. More than any of my other regular reads – the next closest being F&SF with 63.


Blog at

%d bloggers like this: