A Picnic in the Rain
Picnic on Paradise
By Joanna Russ
1968’s Nebula-nominated Picnic in Paradise is part of Joanna Russ’ Alyx sequence1. Although two previous James-reviewed entries in the series (here, and here) were fantasy2, this Alyx outing is closer to the entry in Orbit 6 (Alyx’s descendant, a time traveller, visits a 1920s American family). In this short novel, a fantasy protagonist is dropped into science fiction.
Retrieved from the depths of time, hardened swordsperson and professional thief Alyx is the Trans-Temporal Authority’s foremost agent. Because time scoops do not retrieve the living, and the circumstances that led to Alyx being dead enough to retrieve and alive enough to revive were extremely unlikely3, she is also the TTA’s only agent. However, she has the very skillset needed to guide a group of tourists from point A to point B via unexpectedly hostile territory C.