Review of “Inertia” by Wendy Nikel


The unnamed narrator and her unnamed mate meet at the launch pad.

“Is it love at first sight?” he asks her.

“Does it matter?” she responds.

They are one of a one hundred assigned couples about to be sent off to replenish the human race on a distant world. They will sleep in suspended animation until they reach the new world. What could go wrong?


It crossed my mind that this might be a rerun of the tired Adam and Eve story. It is not. The narrator volunteered for this project after the man she loved told her that he would be marrying another woman, a pregnant girlfriend. She has, understandably, soured on the male of the species.

The author intersperses the recitation of various principles of physics throughout the story, beginning with the statement of (what else?) inertia: “A body in motion will remain in motion, and one at rest, at rest.” Generally, this device annoys me as a reader. However, in this story, author Wendy Nikel uses it to enhance rather than to decorate the story. It works.

I liked this story.


According to her author blurb, Wendy Nikel is a speculative fiction author with a degree in elementary education. Her short fiction has been published by Analog, Nature: Futures, Podcastle, and elsewhere. Her time travel novella series, beginning with The Continuum, is available from World Weaver Press. Her website notes she is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), currently serving as the Publisher Liaison for the 2020 World Fantasy Convention.

The story can be read here.

Title: “Inertia”
Author: Wendy Nikel
First published: Daily Science Fiction, January 6, 2020

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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