Sunday Shorts—勢孤取和 (Influence Isolated, Make Peace) by John Chu

coverPart of Queers Destroy Science Fiction, which I’m listening to on audiobook, “勢孤取和 (Influence Isolated, Make Peace)” by John Chu was a brilliant way to ring in the new year. It does science fiction the way I love it the most: with inclusive allegory. The queer main characters isn’t the main point, but their “otherness” is.

Jake is a cyborg—as a result, he’s huge, incredibly strong, possesses the internal analysis speed of a computer, can network with other cyborgs, and as of a recent treaty? Is counting down the time until his creators pull the plug on those like him, to maintain the peace.

He’s also looking for a way out. And needs to be able to blend in as “normal” if he can.

Tyler becomes his “target,” another soldier at the same base where the cyborgs are being held in wait of their imminent destruction. The intent is simple: befriend, learn, hatch an escape, stay hidden. But things a good cyborg always considers that plan A will fail, and have contingencies in place.

The story made me think of “First they came for…” and did so in such a wonderful, effortless way. I loved the casual world-building, the cultural touchpoint of Go, and the evolving relationship between the two. Even better, I loved the ending, which felt as hopeful as possible in the scenario—always a delicate balance.

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