No Trading Voyage:
This a short poetic piece which could easily have been a forgettable space adventure. However, Buck does some very interesting things to raise it up:
- Turning into a short poem rather than an overly long and descriptive prose novella gives it a magical feel.
- The sparseness of it is combined with an intense worldbuilding. Allowing us to imagine worlds without land or Pleione’s who can see the entire electromagnetic spectrum. I have a theory that the best science fiction is one in which you could imagine an entire series of tales stretching off from a single line. This story does that eminently well.
- The final two lines create a haunting counterpoint to the rest of the story, moving us away from an amazing space opera with pirates and intelligent plants to that of a dead Earth.
A really marvellous piece. Probably my favourite of the collection.