The Great Loneliness by Maria Romasco Moore
Series: Women Destroy Science Fiction! (Lightspeed #49)
Published by Skyboat Media on November 18, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: 15 hours, 11 minutes
Narrated by Judy Young
Buy It Here! •
The summer of 2013 was a rough one for women in science fiction. Every few weeks there was a new reminder that to a certain subset of the field, women are not welcome. There were multiple articles returning to the tired accusation that women aren’t writing “real” SF; disputes about the way the field is represented by vintage cheesecake art on the cover of a professional trade publication; the glib admonition that if women are to succeed, they should be more like Barbie, in her “quiet dignity.” For many readers, it was a very nasty surprise to discover this undercurrent running through the ocean of imaginative fiction we love.
And it just. Kept. Coming.
We got tired. We got angry. And then we came out the other side of exhaustion and anger deeply motivated to do something.
Thus the Women Destroy Science Fiction! special issue of LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE was conceived. We did a Kickstarter campaign in early 2014 to help make the issue into a double issue; we crushed our fundraising goal in about 7 hours and ended up funding at more than 1000% of our original funding goal, with more than 2800 backers. Because of that tremendous success, we unlocked two major stretch goals which resulted in the publication of companion volumes Women Destroy Fantasy! and Women Destroy Horror!, which are being published as issues of LIGHTSPEED’s sister publications, FANTASY and NIGHTMARE.
FROM THE EDITORS — Christie Yant, Rachel Swirsky, Wendy N. Wagner, Robyn Lupo, and Gabrielle de Cuir
Editorial, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction!
ORIGINAL SHORT STORIES — edited by Christie Yant
REPRINTS — selected by Rachel Swirsky
Like Daughter by Tananarive Due – narrated by Jamye Méri Grant
The Great Loneliness by Maria Romasco Moore – narrated by Judy Young
Love is the Plan the Plan is Death by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) – narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
Knapsack Poems: A Goxhat Travel Journal by Eleanor Arnason – narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
The Cost to Be Wise by Maureen F. McHugh (novella) – narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir
The Great Loneliness is an odd story. There is a lot of unexplained activity, circumstances and science that kinda drove me batty.
In The Great Loneliness, it appears that the Earth has had some catastrophe of some kind. Sadly, I don’t know what it [the catastrophe] was but it whittled down the population to a couple of thousand people. And it appeared that people couldn’t go outside. Due to this, the human race is looking for something in space: a new home AND new friends. For some strange reason, humans have become lonely and now they want an interstellar friend. The search for this friend(s) is undertaken by numerous satellite-type things that drop something called “spider-babies.” The spider-babies are…satellite cameras with a direct feed to Earth. They are programmed to drop when they locate a Goldilocks planet and they transmit film until they crash on the planet surface.
In astronomy and astrobiology, the circumstellar habitable zone (CHZ), or simply the habitable zone, is the range of orbits around a star within which a planetary surface can support liquid water given sufficient atmospheric pressure. The bounds of the CHZ are based on Earth’s position in the Solar System and the amount of radiant energy it receives from the Sun. Due to the importance of liquid water to Earth’s biosphere, the nature of the CHZ and the objects within it may be instrumental in determining the scope and distribution of Earth-like extraterrestrial life and intelligence.
The habitable zone is also called the Goldilocks zone, a metaphor of the children’s fairy tale of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, in which a little girl chooses from sets of three items, ignoring the ones that are too extreme (large or small, hot or cold, etc.), and settling on the one in the middle, which is “just right”.
In the middle of all of this strangeness, the MC brings the reader up to speed. The MC is a…clone or creation of some type. She IS human but she was born in a batch. She – and her sisters – were created by a scientist who wanted to live forever (?). They were all created to be scientists and all worked to achieve something for their creator…until he is murdered by his [non-clone] daughter. There is no reason given why his daughter (who he cloned multiple times as well) murdered him and all of the hundreds (thousands?) of clones he created with the exception of the MC/narrator (who was out when the rest were killed). The daughter didn’t kill her clones, by the way. And the clones were for “spares” – like in The Island – so they have names like “Margie’s Eyes” or “Margie’s Brain.”
Not. Creepy. At. All.
Since the death of the scientist and his clones, the MC has been living with the daughter in the huge mansion left behind. The MC considers herself “an artist” (not a scientist) and this she “creates” her daughters: she takes bits and pieces of her DNA and merges it with other bits of animal and plant DNA. She has 3 daughters at the start of the story: one plant daughter, one nocturnal cat-like daughter and another one that I can’t remember what she is, lol. The MC is in the process of creating a new daughter – with less of her own DNA this time – which was made out of (mostly) DNA from animals that are loners and reproduce asexually: panthers, etc. Why? So this daughter will never be lonely.
I wasn’t a fan of the MC at all, to be honest. Her constant self-important comments about her being an artist and that her “daughters” were her art. She says she gives them parts of her DNA because “all great artists have sign their work.” Ugh. She’s talking about sentient life – not a flipping painting.
The Great Loneliness was interesting enough but left me with more questions than satisfaction. I don’t understand the motivations of the character(s) because I don’t understand the whys/fors of their current situation. I felt this one needed…a lot more.