Monday, May 27, 2019

The Undefeated, by Una McCormack

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Space Opera) Despite an invasion threat that has everyone else fleeing in panic, Monica returns to her childhood world trying to find something to give her life meaning again. (21,832 words; Time: 1h:12m)

"The Undefeated," by (edited by Marco Palmieri), published on by .

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

Review: 2019.321 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: For the most part, this story is about the history of the Commonwealth, its ruthless annexation tactics, its mistreatment of genetically-engineered people (“jenjers”), and the ultimate consequences of that. To a lesser degree, it’s about how Monica, dissatisfied with her perfect life, returns to the scene of her childhood trauma and finds a new purpose in reporting on the upcoming disaster.

One of the big charms of this well-written novella is how we gradually figure out what’s really going on.

Con: Something about the setup rang false to me. The template humans seemed so weak and ineffectual that it seemed the jenjers were already in charge of everything. Why didn’t they rise up a long time ago?

Monica is something of an unsatisfying protagonist in that she doesn’t have an obvious or worthy goal, and her actions seem self-destructive.

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