Saturday, March 31, 2018

Opium for Ezra, by T.R. Napper

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Military SF) After nine months in a super tank, Ezra and his crew are barely hanging on, and they’re getting strange messages from an unknown source that seems to have nothing to do with the ongoing war. (5,792 words; Time: 19m)

"Opium for Ezra," by (edited by Andy Cox), appeared in issue 274, published on by .

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

Pro: The double fake is very cute. Just when we’re prepared to believe that Ezra really is a video game junkie, he opens the hatch and it’s a trick after all. Looking back over the story, there’s plenty of setup for this outcome. We’re warned repeatedly about the Xiongshou, who defeat tanks with psychological tricks, so it’s a great ah-ha moment to see one for real.

Con: Nine months in a tank—a solid month without ever exiting the vehicle—is really hard to believe.

As the Xiongshou says, the characters are hard-to-believe stereotypes, and the fight scene goes on way too long.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 274)
T.R. Napper Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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