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Short story – “The Edge of the World” by Michael Swanwick

Full Spectrum IIAnother excellent story from a great anthology. There’s only one left, what am I going to do!

“The Edge of the World” by Michael Swanwick was first published in 1989 in Full Spectrum II. I read it in the collection The Legend Book of Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois and published in 1991.

This is a great story about a group of young people living on an alternative Earth which seems to have a piece missing. There is no explanation for why, or I missed it if there is. History, or the famous people and events in it, seem to be fairly consistent with our world and history, but the outcomes are different. We see the action through the eyes of the main protagonist, Donna. She is in love with one of the boys, and is disgusted by the other. They decide one day to take a look over the edge of the world, and climb down a metal staircase into the void…

The world is brilliantly realised, the tension is palpable, the characters are well drawn, the story is well told. This is my first encounter with Swanwick, but it will not be my last.

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