It took me a while to come up with it, but the best description I have for this novella is “impressionistic.” It varies from being told up close by the protagonist, and drifting outwards into discussion of how historians tried to piece together the events of the story years later. It’s a folk tale of the distant future, a Promethean moment as someone pulls this corner of humanity out of a localized Dark Age.
The setting does a great job in establishing a sense of scale. Because you have forgotten technology of the ancients on the scale of “this is a colony, we remember the part of our history where we got here via interstellar travel, but now our highest tech stuff is boat engines”… set against a backdrop of what I interpreted as mysterious nanotechnology and Kardashev tier 2-3-ish feats of engineering.
It’s a pretty quick read, and different enough from the usual fare of science fiction, and I do recommend it. Give it a read.1
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