Redstone #9, February 2011

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Redstone Science Fiction #9, February 2011

“Like a Hawk in its Gyre” by Philip Brewer
“Fatherhood” by Lee Knapp

Reviewed by Indrapramit Das

Philip Brewer’s “Like a Hawk in its Gyre” is an effective, tightly written piece of SF. Brewer effortlessly conveys the futuristic elements and rules of his apparently mundane world (the story is set entirely on a scenic bicycle trail), as well as the effect they’ve had on the story’s protagonist Kurt. Kurt, a genetic engineer who has left behind a career working for the military to become a purveyor of intelligent bicycles, becomes our ‘in’ to this future, not only for the part he’s played in its development, but as a surprisingly sympathetic victim of it. Slowly and surely, we begin to care for this strange man and his creations, even as we realize that both are more dangerous than they seem, and this in itself is a delight.

Lee Knapp’s “Fatherhood” is described by Redstone editor Michael Ray as “an over-the-top cyberpunk story,” and this turns out to be an entirely accurate summation. There also isn’t much else to it, really—the piece is all atmosphere, with crackling descriptive language and world-building, and kinetic, polychromatic action. It evokes its lunar city with admirable bombast and no restraint, bringing to mind the unhinged futurism of 2000 AD comics (known best for Judge Dredd). The characters are lightly sketched, and I barely cared about our genetically engineered protagonist Octopus as he (it?) went through the paces of corporate cyber-espionage and its related hazards. Still, an entertaining read, with some pleasing if overwrought writing.