Ian R. MacLeod. The Cold Step Beyond. (Asimovs, June 2011)

MacLeod returns to the setting of his story ‘Breathmoss’ from Asimovs back in May 2002, to explore the strange relationship of a very odd couple. Bess is a fighting machine, an orphaned child raised to take on a role that is simply to kill. Ellie is an altogether more ethereal child. Their futures are inexorably intertwined, and MacLeod gets the meeting of the two just right, as he does with the backstory and the background to the story, making a three-dimensional read. Or four.

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