Thursday, March 2, 2017

Three Can Keep a Secret..., by Bill Johnson and Gregory Frost

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(SF Thriller) A resourceful assassin from Earth comes to an unnamed planet on a mission to double-cross someone. (9,501 words; Time: 31m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"Three Can Keep a Secret...," by and (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 03-04|17, published on by .

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

Pro: Prospero is extremely entertaining, as are the various tricks the assassin plays at each step of his subterfuge. By the end, all the loose ends are wrapped up in a neat bundle.

Con: Kronach is the most incompetent assassin ever. Letting himself be lured onstage with Prospero?

The narrator’s technology makes it all too easy for him. He has nanites to change his appearance, he has drugs that make people compliant, and he has an unbelievably powerful AI to manage all the details.

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Bill Johnson Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline
Gregory Frost Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. This one didn't work at all for me. No sense of tension, because the MC has everything in hand. At every stage of the game, his technology is superior and does all the work. These supposedly formidable bad guys are done in with chemicals passed through bare hands, an encrypted formula that no one noticed was encrypted, and the finale is solved by bringing teleporation (!) from under the magician's sleeve. The assassin nemesis is fooled at every turn, the evil accountant looks scary for one scene but is helpless against Prospero's bag of tricks. Would have been much improved if it things went wrong, like it does in most caper stories. IMO!

    1. Yeah, you could argue that this is a Mary Sue story. I probably didn't mark this one that way because it's the AI that's all-powerful, not Prospero himself.