The Alexander Jablokov series takes a sidestep into the shared world of Future Boston, a series he worked in. So, I’m going to cover several works in that universe.
Raw Feed (1989): “The Egg“, Steven Popkes, 1989
I wasn’t looking forward to reading this rather bland titled story by an author I’ve never heard of.
However, I enjoyed it, especially the alien sapient Gray and the centaur Bishop, a very strange, cannibalistic alien of equal parts savage voracity and refinement.
I would have liked to know more of Gray’s history. Is he a biological construct?
I also would have liked to know if the ghosts of Ira’s parents had a clearer explanation: real ghosts, telepathic projects of Gray, or Ira’s fantasies? Perhaps I’m too stuck in my fantasy/sf pigeonholes.
Many elements of this story were pretty standard: union strife, Sara Monahan’s obsession with her long gone husband (I spent most of the story wishing she’d snap out of her habitual distrust), Ira’s anger at Gray and his parents, Jack’s vandalization, and the temporary spurning of Sam. These may be verities of the human conditions but they’re also cliches, even if well done as here, in the storyteller’s catalog. It’s a dilemma: realistic situations depicted over and over again or more original, bizarre, less realistic psychocharacter drama?
Still, I liked this story more than I thought and did enjoy it.