Contamination: Review of “The Singing Wind and the Golden Hour” by Nicole Feldringer

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Feldringer’s protagonist, Kala, is a photographer–and evocative images are strewn throughout this fascinating story. “The Singing Wind and the Golden Hour” is July’s story on GigaNotoSaurus, a webzine that caters to stories with high wordcounts. The story tracks the attempts of Kala, and her friend Abe, to expose the truth behind an illness that suddenly assaults the Warrens, a first-gen district of their Martian town.

Throughout the story, vivid description reminds us of the wild beauty of Mars even as the societal structure is all too familiar to Earth’s class politics. Kala photographs a landscape encroached upon by the Martian settlements: “The antenna mast’s shadow corrugated across the yardangs, destroying the illusion of wilderness.” Talented but fearful, Kala finds a way to use her photography to highlight the abuses of the first-gen district in the face of the increasing demand for housing due to settler influx.

The story is successful in mingling the familiar and the unfamiliar, so that the well-established Martian civilization reflects very current and Earthly concerns. It also emphasizes the role of art, and its potential partnership with the sciences, to combat injustice. A good read!

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