royalty-free-writing-clipart-illustration-1146779This is science fiction, but not especially hard, as the events look like magic. The novelette was published in Lightspeed.

Rack’s security software has caught a kid hacker in its coils, and the kid’s mobster dad kills him for it—at least his body. Rack is the brains of the operation and Rhye, retired soldier, is the brawn. The mobster insists that she go into cyberspace to rescue the kid. She agrees, because that way she’ll have a chance to locate Rack’s digitized consciousness, as well. Once inside the security program, she finds she has to fight her former self, as Rack has programmed the security in her image. If she’s successful, she can rescue the kid, but what can she do about Rack?

Is cyberpunk currently experiencing a renaissance? This is the second cyberpunk story I’ve read just recently. It helps to be familiar with the tropes, as it moves pretty fast. Besides that, Rhye, the narrator, has got a really dirty mouth.

The writing is competent, and Bolander has got a firm grip on the cyberpunk. The best point of the story is the symbolic way that Rhye has to confront her former, violent self. She’s matured and changed now, and knows Rack’s survival depends on her. Drawbacks: We learn very little about the world where these people live. We get background on Rhye, but hardly anything at all on the rest of the characters. Picking at the science a little, the twist ending is asking us to accept a lot. However, if we consider it magic, we’re all fine. Entertaining, but not thought-provoking. Three and a half stars.