Jan 16th, 2018, An Equation of State by Robert Reed, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2018

Robert Reed is a mainstay in the F&SF short-form market. His stories are enjoyable, if not mind-blowing. That being said, this is my favorite piece I’ve read by this author. It follows humanity through time from the perspective of a higher life form, that watches and observes and even influences certain historical events. This entity was sent as a diplomat, thought what diplomacy it really does within this piece is debatable.

Through the narration of this entity, readers see different wars throughout human history. The insights it has to the human environment and the tragedy is unique among pieces recounting war. And that’s what the strength of this piece is–the narrative style. It is omniscient in a way, yet first-person as well. Due to the narrator’s otherworldliness, the takes readers through times of first life on Earth all the way past our present and into the future. The ending was underwhelming for me, due to the fact it was a chunk of exposition that tried to explain a concept, rather than a real resolution. (C+)


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