Friday, April 6, 2018

Void Black Shadow, by Corey J. White

[Tor Novella]
★☆☆☆☆ Needs Improvement

(Space Opera; Voidwitch) Mariam “Mars” Xi uses her matchless psionic powers to rescue a friend from an impenetrable space prison. (39,812 words; Time: 2h:12m)

This story depends heavily on the reader having already read “Killing Gravity.” Readers should not read this story first. See related articles on

"," by (edited by Carl Engle-Laird), published on by .

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

Pro: The prison where the guards are all remotely-operated robots was a cool idea.

Con: The story fails because Mars is so powerful that the only way to inject any conflict into the story is to use an idiot plot. That is, Mars makes one dumb decision after another, starting with letting herself be captured (which also depends on her enemies being just as stupid as she is), then not removing her collar at the first opportunity, wasting her tool that lets her walk through force fields, etc.

The brief moments when she appears to show feelings break suspension of disbelief because 90% of the story shows her to be a psychopath who kills with zero remorse. When she was upset about animals being used in experiments, all I could think was that I'd have expected her to be the type that tortured animals as a child.

Many of the prison scenes appear to exist for the sole purpose of showing a naked woman being tortured. Perhaps that’s unfair, but that's the impression I got.

Finally, the science is awful. For example, a spaceship will not fall out of orbit if the engine fails.

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