What could very well be the end of the world is the perfect time to take risks. If it doesn’t happen now another chance might never present itself.
I can’t imagine a more electrifying opening sentence than this one: “The sky was on fire.” As soon as I read it I couldn’t wait to see what Ms. Buckley planned to do with her characters and the dying world that no one else has been able to save. The descriptions of what happens to a society that knows there may not be any days left for them after this one were as chilling as they were intriguing.
It’s difficult to discuss my criticism of this piece without revealing spoilers, but the scenes that earned it a sensual rating felt out of place when compared to the tone of the rest of the plot. Either section would have made a compelling short story on its own, but attempting to bind a thrilling science fiction mission with what happens later on never quite gelled for this reader. I did not sense much chemistry between the individuals involved in those scenes, and that made it difficult for me to understand certain interactions between them.
The fast-paced plot kept me interested from beginning to end. Just enough information about Global Solutions and the backgrounds of the characters is provided to explain what’s happening. There were a few details I would have preferred to have more information on, but none of it is strictly necessary in order to understand what Grace is trying to do. Leaving certain questions unanswered also means that there is space for a sequel to this piece. While I don’t know if Ms. Buckley is planning to write it, I would be quite interested in revisiting these characters in the near future.
Grace Under Fire is a solid tale that left me wishing for more. This is a good choice for anyone in the mood for a quick, satisfying read.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.