Review: Tyche’s World by Stephen L. Antczak

Reviewed by Stephen Cashmore
This story has an interesting premise – namely, suppose “luck” is something that could be created at a quantum level? Would it not therefore be possible to create good luck by conscious thought? On the assumption that a quantum field wasn’t already in place, wouldn’t it be possible to create one? The protagonist, a hard-headed scientist on Tyche, thinks the whole idea is nonsense, and sets out to disprove it. Does he succeed? That’s for me to know, having read the story, and you to find out.

The writing is reasonably solid – one or two phrases are a little odd, but nothing to get excited about. The dialogue flows well and feels real. I think my main issue with Tyche’s World is that it should either be longer, or it should drop some of the detail. For example, it tries to go into detail about each of the three main characters, and there simply isn’t room for that, so it comes across as slightly superficial. Ditto with the “science” and environment of Tyche. Contrary-wise, the build up to the experiment described in the story is put over in a couple of paragraphs, when it is clearly a key factor to the whole thing. The personal conflict between the characters, which leads to a pretty fundamental break-up, is not explored in much detail either. As a consequence of all these factors, the story relies heavily on its “big idea” – the characters and environment are vehicles for conveying the big idea, rather than being integral to it. Very much like sf used to be.

So if you’re looking for an sf story with a slightly 50’s or 60’s feel to it, Tyche’s World will fit the bill. If you’re looking for a more modern take, with a bit more depth and exploration of character to it, then it probably won’t.

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