Monday, June 25, 2018

Perfect Gun, by Elizabeth Bear

Solaris, September 2017 (in Infinity Wars:The Infinity Project #6, edited by Jonathan Strahan)

John Steel is a mercenary.

He buys a lovely rig, a decommissioned war machine, restores her, and deletes all the inconvenient safety, morality, and Geneva software that would keep him from earning his living in what he's come to consider the only reliable way.

He's a mercenary, and he doesn't insist on working for the bad guys, but mostly that's who hires him.

The good guys, the ones who negotiate, and reach reasonable deals, and try to accommodate each other needs, and run democratic governments that people support, don't need him, mostly.

He knows what right and wrong are. Unfortunately, right is usually not as profitable for people in his business.

Yet despite his careful and thorough work on her systems, his rig keeps reminding him about the software he ripped out.

I usually don't like stories from the viewpoint of a bad guy, but Bear gives us as always good, thoughtful, insightful characterization, and a plot that really delivers a punch.

Highly recommended.