In a human-colonised solar system, Kiku travels from Mars to Venus in the hope of finding blast jewels – naturally-occurring objects which can be caused to explode, leaving gems behind as debris. His guide is Ember, a young Jill-of-all-trades with a pet otter. I enjoyed this: there’s a drily humorous note to the narration; the precocious Ember is an engaging character; and the closing twist is nicely dark.

Rating: ***½

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology Not the Only Planet.