Four tiny, cerulean lozenges winked in and out of phase for a moment, twinkling like silvery fish, sardines really, as they shimmied into position and formed the corners of a tetrahedron above the lunar surface.
–Lawrence M. Schoen - The Moment - c.2009
In 2010 “The Moment” was nominated for the Hugo Award in the Best Short Story category. Over the course of millions of years, a wide range of alien intelligences visit the mark of a footprint on the moon, ponder its significance, getting it wrong until the very end. (Blurb from Goodreads
So I reread it. And on second reading it all made much more sense.
It isn’t a very complicated story, so I shouldn’t have had that problem with it, but I think I wasn’t expecting the type of story that it is. Which is a series of moments happening across vast swathes of time, all centred on one moment of the very distant past. And given that what that moment is is blatantly obvious from the very beginning I deserve a slap for only really realising half way through my first read. That’s probably why I had trouble with it. I wasn’t connecting the other events with anything. Once I made that connection things popped into place much more clearly. And even though that goodreads blurb gives away what I missed I’m still going to hide it in spoiler tags Show Spoiler ▼
It was an entertaining story, I recommend it as a solid sci-fi short story.
Every month or so Schoen posts a new freebie on his website, that is how I got my hands on The Moment, he currently has a different story available Cat Futures.