Saturday, November 21, 2015

Samsara and Ice, by Andy Dudak

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January/February 2015; ~3,300 words
Rating: 3, Good, ordinary, story  Recommended By:  Locus

On a distant planet, every few years, two soldiers awake and try to kill each other. The locals think they're gods, and no one seems to remember what the war was about.

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: We start with Omni feeling crushed with boredom. We end with them both having made the contest more interesting, and that's a victory, of sorts. We learn just enough about the locals to feel sorry for what is happening to them. The notion of soliders who get reinstantiated after death is an interesting one.

Con: Omni isn't much of a protagonist. He's such a slave to his conditioning that we're really rooting for him to overcome it, but he never does. Bataar is the real hero of the story--the one who changes things. It's a little hard to believe in military hardware meant to last for a thousand years. 

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