Saturday, October 29, 2011

Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week :: "Run," Bakri Says by Ferrett Steinmetz

Asimov's December 2011 My Story Recommendation of the Week is for "'Run,' Bakri Says" by Ferrett Steinmetz, from the December 2011 issue of Asimov's. This is Steinmetz's second SROTW.

Authors have been writing stories inspired by video games since I first began reading science fiction in the 1970's, and for far longer than that they've been writing fiction to illustrate the dehumanizing effects of war. Yet in "'Run,' Bakri Says," Ferrett Steinmetz manages to do both in an original and powerful way.

In an unnamed battlefield in the War on Terror, Irena is desperate to rescue her brother, captured by American soldiers, before he reveals to them what he has invented. She uses the invention to try to save him, but its effects are not predictable. The inexorable progression of the rescue attempt is both poignant and disturbing.

I don't want to reveal the way the brother's invention works, for fear of spoiling how the story unfolds, but I will say it involves a subtle form of time travel. And so I'm most annoyed the story came out at the same time as my story Random Fire, thus entirely overshadowing my own attempt at writing a fresh time travel story.

"'Run,' Bakri Says" is not a pleasant story to read, but you'll be glad you did.

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