Lis Carey Review: “On the Razor’s Edge”

“On the Razor’s Edge” by Jiang Bo

Review by Lis Carey: I believe the cover shown is the anthology that contains this short story, a finalist for the 2023 Best Short Story Hugo. My apologies to all if I have this wrong.

Zhong Lixin is a Chinese astronaut, on China’s Tiangong Space Station in 2028. He’s working on his assigned projects, along with another astronaut, Duan Guozhu, when they hear what they’ve never heard before on the station — the emergency alarm. Soon they’re working on repairs, fixable ones, fortunately, damage caused by micrometeors colliding with the station. They’ve been fortunate, and can continue their mission.

Then they get new, disturbing information. Some of that same micrometeor cluster hit the International Space Station, and have caused a fire on it.

“International” or not, the Chinese regard the ISS as an American space station, and when this accident occurs, the ISS crew consists of three Americans. But this is space, and they’re all astronauts together. Yet, Zhong and Duan don’t know of any way they can rescue the Americans.

Fortunately, despite existing tensions between the two governments, those on the ground take the same view about not leaving astronauts stranded whatever their nationality. Even better, someone on the ground has an idea. It’s speculative, risky, involves doing things never tried before. Success is far from guaranteed.

What follows is a nailbiter, exciting, scary, and completely compelling.

A worthy finalist.

I received this story as part of the 2023 Hugo Voters Packet.

4 thoughts on “Lis Carey Review: “On the Razor’s Edge”

  1. According to Goodreads, the story by Jiang Bo in this anthology is “Starship: Library”, not “On the Razor’s Edge”. (Nevertheless, I agree that “On the Razor’s Edge” is a fine story worthy of a Hugo nod.)

  2. Lis, thanks for the review. I found this a very good story and I was glad it was nominated. My thanks for the reference to “Sinopticon”, which I will need to read. I don’t think “On the Razor’s Edge” is included in that anthology, per the TOC I saw at ISFDB, although it does have another story by Jiang Bo.

  3. I’ve now changed the review on my blog to show a generic cover, rather than the Sinopticon cover. Thank you to those who provided the correction.

    And I just bought Sinopticon. 🙂

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