Monday, April 6, 2020

The Visitor: Kill or Cure, by Mark Lawrence

★★★★☆ A Stirring Fight Between Good and Evil

(Superhero Thriller; Wild Cards) Ruby is a powerful “Ace” who cynically does dirty jobs for bad people who help her keep her pain under control. Her world changes when a job puts her in contact with an elusive, childish, but very powerful Ace who won’t give in. (10,283 words; Time: 34m)

Recommended By: 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)

This is set in the Wild Cards universe, which diverged from ours in 1946, but to appreciate this story you really only need to be familiar with the premise (i.e. you need to know what “Jokers,” “Aces,” and “Nats” are).

"," by (edited by George R.R. Martin), published on by .

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

Review: 2020.172 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The best thing about this story is Angela “The Visitor” Carter. She’s sweet, a little naïve, and awesomely powerful. Power she’d like to use for good, but she’s too young and inexperienced to fully understand what she’s doing.

This is really Ruby’s story, though. Angela (like an angel) simply fights for good, but Ruby is ultimately fighting for control of her life back. She’s damaged for life not just by the virus but by the way she accidentally killed the love of her life. On top of that, the Witch owns a piece of her soul. She’s cynical about the world, but it’s clear that’s a defense to let her not think about how hopeless her situation is.

Her encounters with Angela show her a way out, and it’s gratifying that she takes it joyfully.

Con: At heart, this story is based on a conspiracy theory: the idea that rich people suppress treatments for disease so that drug companies can make bigger profits. Some people actually believe this in real life, but it’s no fun to encounter it (or any other conspiracy theory) in a story.

Whoever was supposed to copyedit this really fell down on the job. E.g. “The woman’s hands explore her face then stroke down across belly.” (Not “her belly?”) “Tanisha Williams swings her legs to set both feet to the floor.” (Not “on the floor?)

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Mark Lawrence Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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