Sunday, February 28, 2016

Seven Kill Tiger, by Charles W. Shao

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(Near-future SF) Zhang Zedong directs Chinese investments in Africa, but productivity is so poor his superiors are threatening him, so he considers drastic action. (5,124 words; Time: 17m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆, Not Recommended

"Seven Kill Tiger," by (edited by Jerry Pournelle), appeared in There Will Be War Volume X, published on by .

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

Pro: It creates a lot of tension between the villain planning to release the virus and the hero trying to stop it.

Con: The story fizzles completely. Zhang meets no real resistance and Thompson just gives up.

Some aspects are very hard to believe. For example, the US was expected to accept the loss of 3% of its people--some nine million people. Or that the rest of the world would acquiesce in China annexing Africa after this--even though they'd abandoned a previous resettlement program due to international pressure. And the idea that Thompson decides to do nothing based on a single visit from a Chinese operative is hard to buy--or that China would be dumb enough to validate his fears by sending such an operative in the first place.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I thought the guy planning to release the virus was supposed to be the hero.

    1. Some stories do have an evil hero, but even if we analyze this one that way, the story fails owning to the hero being a "Mary Sue." (Everything he does just works, and he meets no serious opposition.) For an evil character, perhaps we should call that a "Typhoid Mary Sue." :-)

  2. I was expecting Thompson to go on "vacation," take his advance knowledge, tweak the virus to attack only Han Chinese genetics, and use it to threaten MAD, end the situation, achieving a limited win.

    1. Yes, the author had all the elements for an exciting techno-thriller, but then he just didn't do anything with it.