This story is part of the upcoming inaugural “Futuristic in Nature” anthology which will be released annually. Volume one will be available in July/August.
Chang Luis Sahari is the most celebrated food critic in the cosmos. But the competition is always snapping at his heels.
Set 100 years in the future, Space Sushi follows a passionate food critic as he faces his hardest challenge yet. A dish which is such a delicacy that it is only enjoyed by the rich and the elite. A tasty delight that is as potent as it is gorgeous with the potential to kill him. The culinary wonder is poisonous and there is no known antidote. Death is guaranteed if the poison is digested, already it has claimed an impressive number of victims.
There are very few chefs who can prepare it with the meticulous care necessary to make it safely edible.
Chang’s employer sends him to the universally renowned Chef Nikons restaurant to sample the notorious Ambrozian sea slug from the Andromeda galaxy. Despite being in the care of a personal friend and a gastronomic legend who has prepared the dish fifteen times Chang still feels extremely nervous.
After all, it isn’t every day that you sample a meal that could be your last.
I was asked for a review by the author
Space Sushi is a short story that is very well told with an equal balance of information, anticipation, and good writing. Currell tells the story in a light but detailed manner that is engaging and makes you eager for not just the outcome but the journey towards it. Set one hundred years in the future there are similarities to the present world but also new technologies that represent the advancements that have been made, while also touching on a few downsides.
Throughout the story we learn about the main character Chang and his food critic profession, how he is so skilled, and why he is one of the best. Asked to try the dish by his boss in order to help the company cyberzine sales, Chang attends the yet to be officially opened restaurant where his friend Chef Nikon is to prepare it. With his T 21 worker bot Tablet at his side, Chang prepares himself to taste the prominent dish, the wonder of the cosmos that is supposedly delicious but with a touch of danger attached.
As a character Chang is used well in establishing the atmosphere of not just the nervousness about what he is experiencing and anticipating, but also providing a wider context, history, and supporting details about the world in which the story is set. We are provided with an intense build up about what may and has already happened to people from consuming this esteemed and potentially poisoned dish so as a reader you understand why Chang is nervous and why the dish is famed and loved by those who can afford it.
While we wait alongside Chang as his dish is prepared we are hidden from what is happening in the kitchen, aside from what the Chef Nikon tells us when he emerges on occasion, as well as any details provided by Chang’s personal waitress that evening Judy. Being the only customer in the restaurant we are allowed to focus on Chang and the other three characters. We follow their interactions with Chang and we use their conversations to aid the story and build on the narrative. It isn’t until you finish the story that you really notice just how well Currell uses these other characters either. Everything plays together in telling this story and by limiting the descriptive aspect in the story so much of our knowledge is provided through the conversations and interactions among the characters.
Space Sushi is a wonderful short story with a narrative that manages to entertain but also build up your own anticipation and nervousness as you get involved with Chang’s story. You become captured in the story and by the end of it you are left wanting more.