Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Cyborg, the Tinman, the Merchant of Death, by Rich Larson

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(Military SF) Private Berenson is nervous about serving with the Space Navy's only cybernetic soldier, since ordinary troops around him die like flies. (4,180 words; Time: 13m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 79, published on .

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

Pro: The allusion to the Halo games is very clear. Those games also feature a nearly invincible cyborg, who's called "Master Chief." There is an actual US military title "Master Chief," which is short for "Master Chief Petty Officer." It can be fun to look for all the other connections. (E.g. in the game, humans are fighting "The Covenant" whereas here they're fighting "The Coalition.")

Anyone who has played the games knows that Master Chief is usually accompanied by a squad of marines, and that although Master Chief always survives (because the player just starts over if need be), the marines usually die to the last man. On every mission.

This story clearly describes the experience of being one of those marines, and the conclusion seems to be about the pleasure of sticking it to the player or the maker of the game.

Con: There's not a real story here; the whole point appears to be to enjoy the joke.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 79)
Rich Larson Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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