Nancy Kress, "Inertia"

Quarantined victims of a disfiguring disease receive their first visitor from Outside in a long time.

(from Wastelands)

Okay, this isn’t really an apocalypse here. Inside, progress comes to a halt as the diseased make do on teamwork and donations from beyond their confines. And Outside, according to Dr. McHabe is falling apart thanks to violence and war, the usual. I like the narrator, a wise and curious grandmother whose compassion and contemplativeness inches the story along. I don’t believe I’ve ever considered “Inertia”‘s vision of the future before, not the way it is on the Inside. Social and scientific evolution come to a halt, maybe even reverse direction, as humanity settles into a simple, non-competitive rut.

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