Saturday, November 21, 2015

It Takes More Muscles to Frown, by Ned Beauman

Twelve Tomorrows, 2015; ~8,600 words
Rating: 4, Recommended  Recommended By:  Locus  SFEP

The narrator, a blond American man, works for a Mexican oil company and leaks information to the cartels. He beats their lie detector tests using special implants in his face.

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

Pro: The narrator's face has been his curse all his life. The story, ultimately, is about freeing himself from that curse. The story develops the character and his situation a little bit at a time, always enticing us with a bit more information so we never feel like victims of an info dump. The ending is nicely set up in the earlier scenes that told us how much strength the facial muscles have.

Arturo's betrayal is nicely set up. We know how much he chafed at serving under Omar, and we see the conflict between them, so we're not surprised when it happens.

Con: The character is unsympathetic, so we don't feel particularly horrified at his mutilation in the last scene.

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