Saturday, August 8, 2015

Influence Isolated, Make Peace, by John Chu

Lightspeed Magazine, June 2015

At some unspecified point in the not very distant future, Jake is a cyborg soldier at the end of a war. The peace treaty says the cyborgs are to be destroyed; the high command is open to saying they did and letting the small number of cyborgs disappear into the general population if they can convincingly demonstrate that they can disappear into the general population.

The problem is, they can't. Jake and his squadmates look human; they used to be human. But they're physically too perfectly fit, too strong, too fast, and because they have essentially constant access to the internet and any other electronic information sources, it's hard for them to act as if they have only a reasonable human knowledge of anything. Jake and the rest of the cyborgs are, realistically, either going to disappear, or try to, without authorization, or they are going to be destroyed.

And then Jake meets Tyler.

Tyler says he's a requisitions manager. He's got good enough connections that he can get permission to take Jake off base for, just for instance, visits to his Go club. Tyler, like Jake, has to intentionally lose when playing Go.

They also go on rock climbing expeditions and other athletic activities, and it's clear that Tyler is something--unusual.

Who is Tyler, and what is he really after?

This story is, overall, nicely done, and yet as whole it doesn't quite gel for me. My appreciation of it is entirely abstract; it looks like it ought to touch my emotions, and it doesn't. i'm not sure why, but there it is.

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