Repairing the World by John Chu

Title: Repairing the World
Author: John Chu
Published: April 1, 2014
Pages: 11
Publisher: Apex Magazine
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

In a future where the world is routinely fractured by beings breaking in from elsewhere, Lila is a sealer–she literally tapes and seals over the fractures that appear in the ground, the sky, everywhere.  But she is required by the university’s review board to have a linguist along with her when she responds to a break, a task that often falls to Bridger.  Bridger is a serious and accomplished linguist, and he spends countless hours studying.  Though Lila quickly learns that he has another motivation for where he goes to study, and it’s one that is not exactly accepted in their society.  But Lila’s never been one to feel restricted by the rules and she certainly doesn’t expect Bridger to do so, either.

The first John Chu story I read was “The Water that Falls on You From Nowhere,” the much-deserved winner of last year’s Hugo for Best Short Story.  There is something about the way he constructs a world in a short story that I find very compelling.  Often, in short fiction, it’s difficult to present a story that resonates with rich and dynamic characters in a world that feels complete.  There just isn’t the same amount of space one has in a novel.  But in this story, much like with my previous experience with Chu’s writing, he has done just that.  I found myself immersed in this world and connected to the characters in seemingly no time at all, leaving me with every opportunity to truly enjoy what I was reading.