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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

SCI FICTION, May 4, 2005

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"And the Deep Blue Sea" by Elizabeth Bear

ImageA deal with the devil is at the center of the latest SCI FICTION Original, “And the Deep Blue Sea” by Elizabeth Bear.

Harrie is a motorcycle courier in a post-apocalyptic world. She’s expensive and she’s worth it. She makes her deliveries on time, which is all that matters. This time, she is hired to make a delivery of medical supplies to Sacramento, across the radioactive flats that have taken over Nevada.

The first part of her trip is without incident. But that changes, of course. We learn why she's so good at what she does. Years ago, she made a deal with Nick, who guaranteed that she would always make her deliveries, and never wreck her bike. While it’s never stated, it is certainly intimated that her soul is the price.

It turns out that her contract is nearing its end. And Nick is offering her more time. All he wants is time alone with the shipment she is carrying. Throughout the story, he offers three times, while giving Harrie a tour of tragedies of the past. Harrie turns him down three times. The story leaves us with an essential question: will Nick honor his contract?

“And the Deep Blue Sea” was a good read and I enjoyed it. But it’s rare to see anything new in deal with the devil stories. Still, Ms. Bear has written one of the better deal with the devil stories I have read in a while.