Review of “Say ‘Cheese!'” by John Francis Keane

The story opens with an invitation: “Let us go to the place. It is time for us to live forever.” This could mean a couple of things. It becomes especially intriguing when the reader learns the tribe’s children stay behind in the care of “old Sundoo” because they cannot sit still long enough to live forever. Huh? Are they going to starve to death? Some odd form of mass suicide? They seem too happy about it.

The next paragraph describes a modern archeological descent into a cave to examine a stronghold of a Photos Culture, a Cro-Magnon culture who discovered a way to use light and light-sensitive fungus to record images of themselves on cave walls.

I admit this is an intriguing idea. While this cave is the only example of such images, the people achieve a type of immortality, even if their names are long forgotten. Photography develops much earlier with far-reaching effects in this story. However, I could not quite buy it. Granted, the author has little space to develop the idea. I was more engaged with the Cro-Magnon than anyone else in the story.

I enjoyed the story. I just found the ending a little lean.

According to his blurb, authorJohn Francis Keane is a member of the British Sci-Fi Association has published both prose and poetry in several science fiction magazines, including Analog. He has written about the social prototyping potential of science fiction (whatever that is) in management journals as Emergence and The International Journal of Advertising. He is currently working on the Altrisian series, a trilogy of novels about an ancient super race with the power to manipulate destiny across vast spans of space and time.

The story is available here.

Title: Say “Cheese!”
Author: John Francis Keane
First published: August 20, 2018
Read: Daily Science Fiction, August 20, 2018

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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