Paul McAuley. Bruce Springsteen. (Asimovs, January 2012)

In McAuley’s Jackaroo series, a young man finds himself setting out on the beginning of a great adventure, hooking up with a woman who takes him for a walk on the wild side, but it’s a relationship that’s born to lose, as she ends up being shot by the sheriff, and he’s busted, and with only 25 minutes to go, he’s a dead man walking.

Well, having gotten that opening sentence out of my system, let’s say that this is a clever story, set to the driving rhythm of Bruce Springsteen, as a young man falls for an adventure that is laid out in front of him. On a planet far away from Earth, his new lover takes him for a ride (literally) and as the story progresses we find out just how ill-placed his faith in her is, and just how amoral he is in seeking out a new future. The story flows nicely, and ends up with a thoughtful consideration of narrative and storytelling, and of humanity’s lack of understanding of the story that is being told.

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