Rubbing is Racing by Charles Payseur

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: June, 2015 in Lightspeed Magazine

Genre: science fiction

Setting: a doomed planet, some time in the future

Summary: Our narrator participates in an illegal rocket race. They race around planets that have been indicted by the Interplanetary Defense Forces, often without the inhabitants realizing their planet is about to be destroyed. Our narrator is a good pilot and able to keep free of the melee of other rockets and hostile actions by the natives. His real purpose is to rescue an individual on the planet that just wants to escape.

Final thoughts: An enjoyable little story. The writing conveys the tension in the narrator and their actions very strongly. The idea of a race around a planet before it’s destroyed, with the high probability of dying is totally believable. As a bonus, we find out the narrator isn’t in it just for the thrill of it.

Title comes from: At one point, another ship gets a bit too close to the Dido and it’s nav array is sheared off, causing the ship to tumble. The narrator responds, “Well, rubbing is racing.”


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