Ooh, this was a great way to start Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, and I loved the weaving of the almost absurd castle on the moon with the much darker and far more grim realities tucked in almost as asides in the world-building.
Narratively, this is a school trip, complete with kids being kids and annoying each other, jumping too much, and wandering off on their own. But it’s set on the moon, in a future including internal ‘net access implanted behind the eyes of the main character, and at a time when there’s a space elevator that can bring you up into orbit. The kids are on a trip to visit a castle that was taken from Earth by an eccentric and rebuilt—brick by brick—on the moon.
Through the main character’s eyes, Alexander shows us a future that more than once crossed over into eugenics (there’s a brilliantly written scene in the middle of the story where the main character remembers something terrible that could have happened, but they were so much younger they didn’t quite realize what it was at the time), and alongside this science fiction tale of exploration and learning and discovery, there are moments that just so perfectly encapsulate daily life—like seeing a large staircase, an impossibility for the character were they on Earth, but here on the Moon, with less gravity, no longer a barrier. I also loved the cane, which I won’t spoil.
As a start to the anthology, “The House on the Moon” snagged me completely, and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the stories.