Saturday, June 11, 2016

Folk Hero, by Mary Pletsch

(Military SF) Corporal Beckett wants to avenge his father, who was killed by a legendary sniper. The rebels against Terra sing songs about the sniper, and they may hold the clue to finding him. (5,200 words)

Rating: 3, Unremarkable

"," by appeared in the June 2016 issue of Apex Magazine (Issue 85), published .

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

Pro: The altar is both a place to mourn the dead and a place to leave an offering and ask "the Lord of the Gun" for vengeance; the Ardua Sniper isn't a single person: it's whoever takes the offering. As a result, he/she can never be killed.

The gun that Carlisle takes was a "holy" gun, so it's a handsome offering when Carla returns it. Her request for "a new song" amounts to an attempt to break the cycle of vengeance, and the fact that she walks away alive suggests that there is some hope.

Con: We don't get to know any of the characters well enough to feel much for them. Carlisle is really hard to like after we see him shoot down a pregnant woman.

It's a bit of a surprise that in ten years no one on either side seems to have tried to reach any sort of accord. The backstory about Terra having had to abandon the colony for a century or two, and about the colony having to fend off an alien invasion are a bit confusing. 

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