Book Report Corner – Dec 2021

by Zilla N.

Ex-Mech is a short story by Rohan O’Duill published in Otherverse magazine. It won’t surprise you that I loved this story, given it was written by my friend Rohan. I have excellent taste in friends.

Ex-Mech reads like classic science fiction. It reminds me of reading Analog magazine as a kid, of finding anthologies of stories from the Golden Age of science fiction. It’s got a space station, zero-G warfare, luxury cruises around Neptune, and designer drugs.

And below the surface of the station, it’s got compelling characters. Gared struggles with PTSD, with adapting to physical disability, with finding meaning in a life which is no longer what they imagined for themself. Vreni is a foolish kid, better at talking than listening, desperate to escape. She’s the perfect foil for Gared, who claims they don’t want to mentor troubled teens, but who can’t resist trying. It turns out there are plenty of ways to run away, but they all lead to the same destination.

As a side note, this story is also the first published reference to Night Beats. I am so happy to see our shared fictional ‘verse see the pixelated light of day!

You can read the story here:

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