Science Fiction gives you the opportunity to explore the limits of humanity, and what it is to be human in the face of the alien. Where Beukes’ story fails to take this opportunity is in essentially presenting a story that is Abu Ghraib set in space – a besieged human army in ‘enemy’ territory, doing unspeakable thinks to their alien captives. We know that war is hell, and dehumanising – it’s been covered in fiction and films for decades – and the author misses a chance to give the fuller rein that SF offers to go further in exploring these issues. But I spose, that’s asking a lot for a story of only a half-dozen pages.
- Dan Abnett. The Wake. (Further Conflicts.)
- Asimovs. June 2011.