Terraform, March 2, 2015
“Headshot” by Julian Mortimer Smith
Reviewed by Nicky Magas
Gaming and social media blend into warfare in the world of Julian Mortimer Smith’s “Headshot.” Corporal Peters has achieved nation-wide fame and a near instantaneous boost in followers after performing a miraculous headshot kill on notorious terrorist Jaques al-Adil. But the shot didn’t come easy, as reporter Jim Mitcher finds out. Before he could pull the trigger, Peters had to reach quorum via the American people, which meant not only making the situation immediately viral, but motivating enough people to upvote it to get the correct permissions. It’s a dicey system of direct democracy, but Corporal Peters insists he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Headshot” takes a bit of warming into before the reader gets a firm understanding of what is happening and how the characters are able to interact with each other. The back and forth social media style of the interview between Peters and Mitcher fortunately keeps the structure simple enough to allow the reader to focus on the between-the-lines narrative itself. How much of the events within the story is real, and how much of it is virtual reality is a matter of speculation. However, Smith most definitely weaves a believable tale of how warfare could be conducted in a future or universe not very far from our own.