Monday, February 4, 2019

The Butcher of New Tasmania, by Suo Hefu

★★★☆☆ Average

(SF Adventure) Larry Wu defends himself from charges of genocide based on his actions on the planet, New Tasmania—even though he admits to all the facts in evidence. (2,895 words; Time: 09m)

"," by (translated by Andy Dudak, edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 149, published on .

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

Review: 2019.089 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Knowing that Larry has been tried for genocide adds a fair bit of tension to his account of the disaster on New Tasmania. We know something terrible is going to happen; we’re just not sure what or when.

I was pretty sure I knew what his key action had been, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn he’d done something rather different.

Con: He talks about how minor his genetic intervention was, but the truth is the world is rarely that neat and tidy. It could just as easily have resulted in 80% “cured,” 15% unchanged, and 5% something entirely new. Or the locals could have killed their own children when they saw they didn’t have the expected characteristics. How did he even test this before he gave it to people?

The logic of his argument could be used to defend ethnic cleansing in general, provided it were done without mass murder.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I find it interesting that you would consider the holes in his logic to be a negative for the story. I saw it as a thought-provoking way of pointing out the ways one can commit genocide without committing murder. That he's effectively committing genocide is laid out pretty explicitly, so the notion that this would still be a bad thing is consistent with the direction the story is pointing.

    1. Did you think the author wanted you to think it was a bad thing?

    2. I think the author wanted us to be conflicted.

    3. That's a good point. However, I'm not sure I am conflicted; genetic engineering performed on non-consenting people still seems reprehensible to me.