Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Elizabeth Bear's "War Stories"

Posted by Trent Walters at 11:25 PM
Baen's Universe isn't the most easily accessible electronic magazine. After a number of failed attempts and numerous contacts with the zine, I finally got in. I have to thank Bear for helping me connect initially with someone who could help. It may just be an isolated incident--although they do time you out after an hour or two.

The upside is that they provide quite a bit of content. The latest issue has five SF stories, three fantasy, three stories by new writers, serials, a classic, and a few other odd bits.

Elizabeth Bear's "War Stories" is reminiscent of Lois McMaster Bujold but told through a war-jaded protagonist hopped up on cyberpunk. The story has two threads--one where Jenny Casey as a member of the Canadian troops has moved into Hartford, Connecticut, the other where she helps care for the dying wife of a friend. In the Hartford thread, she runs across an orphan shot non-lethally in the head. She briefly takes him under her wing as he heals--he reminds her of herself at that age, coarse--but she eventually abandons him to his fate. When they reunite a decade or so later, it's as drinking buddies. It's more a personal story than SF, but that's pretty standard for much of Bujold's work--military life played out on the future stage. A solid work.


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