Strange Horizons, November 9, 2015

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Strange Horizons, November 9, 2015

Liminal Grid” by Jaymee Goh

Reviewed by Christos Antonaros

Liminal Grid” by Jaymee Goh is a cyberpunk short story, a genre I rarely read but yet never fails to amaze me.

The author takes us into far off Malaysia in an alternative reality. In this agricultural society, the government microchips most of the citizens in order to monitor them. The protagonist, Chien, is a cyber terrorist. With the help of his comrades he intends to bring down the oppressive tyranny by hacking the central computer system, known as The Room.

The tone was one of melancholy, probably more than I could handle, but the second person point of view the author used to introduce Chien provided me with an intimacy toward him, which brought me closer to him and his difficulties.

The only detail in the story I found difficult to comprehend was the use of a local dialect in several parts of the story. The confusion caused by attempting to understand its meaning slowed the story’s pace for me.

What I will remember most from this story are the last two paragraphs, which begin with, “You read once that when kings and sultans were tyrannous, farmers simply moved away. Packed up their stuff, moved to a different land, away …” The author tries to pass her message to the reader by using a beautiful ending, and leaves us with food for thought: If we are the farmers of today, who are our tyrants? And when are we going to start packing up?

Christos Antonaros is a dark fiction author with a love for European mythology.