Use of the present tense in narrative writing is generally a technique of the avant-garde, but here in “Bring On the Rain” it’s put to its use in a piece of military-oriented fiction, seeming either out of place or too much in place. Isn’t it the truth, though–there’s no hope for men at war and in the modern world where isn’t there war? I don’t think the author would dispute that his characters are war-mad. You can’t call a story pessimistic when you have nothing optimistic to compare it with, so you call it “realistic”. Yes, there’s little hope for the Earth in this one–in fact, there isn’t any. Except to say “it’s only a story”, but that doesn’t work out too well, or wouldn’t if it wasn’t sf.
Commentary on “Bring on the Rain”, from the Asimov’s forum.
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