Sunday, July 8, 2012

Soldiers, Watchmakers, and Kids on Mars

Hey folks. I'm still playing catch up. Here are a couple of short stories.

Special Ops by Michael Haynes -- Ray Gun Revival
Interested in reading a story that is almost pure space opera? Here's a rather recent one for you. This tale follows an unfortunate sergeant who gets Shanghaied into doing a special ops mission for his government. The mission: assassinate a high-ranking Hasarian official. In order to carry out the mission, he gets an entire makeover, with a new body to boot. However, everything seems to fall into place without having to do any work. How will he get out of this one?

The Watchmaker's Gift by Rich Matrunick -- Daily Science Fiction
Here's an interesting story. It's about an old woman who brings animals back to life, which seem to be able to talk after this little transformation. The story is told through the eyes of a turtle she brought back. They go pick up a squirrel and fix it up. The process involves both organic material and gears and springs. it's the turtle's turn to explain how everything works to the squirrel. He explains that this isn't Heaven, but rather a second chance on Earth. And that the squirrel had ought to come back once in a while for a wind-up. Some time after, the old woman takes the turtle out into the woods, and the turtle discovers why the old woman has such an interest in bringing the dead back to life. This is a rather heartfelt story, and well worth the read.

Keep Out by Frederic Brown -- Amazing Stories, March 1954
This one is really short. For years people have been saying that the only way humans will really be able to colonize space is after some bioengineering. This story is sort of up that alley. Scientists have found some sort of chemical or protein that allows organisms to become highly adaptable to new environments. If you give it to the parents, the kids will be able to slowly adapt to almost any terrain over a period of time. In the case of this story, scientists and government officials have put those kids on Mars. After being there for about ten years, it's finally just about time for the kids to take over. And their idea of taking over, well, let's just say it's a little more violent than a mere passing of the reins.

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