Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Thirty-Three Percent Joe, by Suzanne Palmer

★★★☆☆ Mixed

(Military SF) Every time Joe get injured in battle, damaged parts of him get replaced with “smart” artificial organs. So smart that they have their own ideas about what’s good for Joe. (7,923 words; Time: 26m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 145, published on .

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

Review: 2018.542 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: There’s plenty of humor here, such as the spleen that thinks it ought to be in charge because it’s the oldest artificial part. In the end, Joe finds a safe job in the kitchen, and finally seems to reconcile himself to living, not dying. The end result is surprisingly uplifting.

Con: The mix of slapstick humor with war and death doesn’t work very well. The absurdity of putting this much intelligence into body parts like spleens and elbows only works in a purely humorous piece, but Joe’s plight is really sad; he’s not laughing at the joke.

Separately, Joe’s success in the kitchen is unsatisfying. He only succeeds because for no conceivable reason his prosthetics happen to have the code to let him hack the software that makes their food.

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Suzanne Palmer Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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