Lis Carey Review: “One Man’s Treasure” 

  • “One Man’s Treasure” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny January-February 2023)

Review by Lis Carey: Aden, Nash, and new crewmate Renny are city trash collectors in a world where magic is just a fact of life, and bulk trash day in the wealthy neighborhoods can be exciting.

Sometimes it’s neat stuff the wealthy throw away, often with magical enhancements. Sometimes it’s dangerous stuff that can potentially kill you — which is what happened to Blue, the teammate Renny is replacing.

This time, it’s a statue quietly asking for help.

City regulations say that a statue, talking or not, is an inanimate object, and if it’s been thrown out, it’s trash.

Aden can’t, and doesn’t, accept that. Nash and Renny somewhat reluctantly go along. Aden’s girlfriend, Nura, a medical student whose training includes magical complications and tools, is more committed.

And as they’re all planning how to defy the rules to help the man who is now a statue, they also start to think about how to change the rules to help themselves. The city doesn’t even provide protective equipment for bulk trash day. When Renny has his own magical accident, thankfully a minor one, they start drawing up a list of demands, and Nura does some research at the library.

Renny has a secret, and it’s about to come out.

It’s a fun story, that I really enjoyed.

This is a 2024 Hugo Awards Best Novelette.

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