Saturday, 19 September 2020

Short Story Review: As the Last I May Know by S L Huang

As the Last I May Know As the Last I May Know by S.L. Huang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This Hugo 2020 Award Winning Short Story originally published by TOR.com is "an alternative history short story looking at decisions and consequences and what it takes to pull the trigger".

11 year old Nyma is a budding poet but she is also the chosen one. Inside her surgeons have planted a capsule containing codes to the most destructive bombs. If the newly elected president wishes to bomb the other warring party he has to first got these codes. This is the dilemma that The Order has put in motion to test the country's leaders in time of war since the massive destruction of 200 years before. Nyma has a choice but that is weighed aganst duty. The President also has a choice. Is he wiling to reisk the total destruction of his capital, the annihilation of everyone? Nyma is a fan of the ancient poet who had written "echoes have no tombs", she herself writes "I am here to make you doubt". The power plays between the Order and the Presidency play out in this story as war rages ever closer, as decisions surge toward its players.

I found the use of poetry in this short story quite evocative. It call to Nyma, it called to her tutor Tej, to called to the President and it called to the people. But will it be enough?

The author S L Huang has website, it informs me she is a MIT graduate, and Hollywood stuntwoman, who writes "eccentric mathematical superhero fiction"


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