FeatherPenClipArt
This is a Hugo finalist in the Best Novelette category. It was published in There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House.

Xiaobo Huen, Admiral of EarthFleet, is writing his memoir. An excerpt lets us know that EarthFleet is fighting aliens called the Meme, who hide their ships in the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud and emerge to make periodic raids attempting to capture Earth. Huen feels that Earth is in increasing danger. The narrative then shifts to Vango Markis, Flight Lieutenant of EarthFleet, who has wakened in what he takes to be some kind of simulation. He meets other soldiers he’s known in the past, and the group takes on more and more difficult simulations against the Meme. Vango recalls that some of the people he’s working with are dead, which raises more questions about what’s going on. The scene shifts again to Missile Tech First Class Pedro Weinauer, who is loading new semi-organic control modules in preparation for battle. Huen makes the final entry about possible interstellar colonies.

I don’t want to give out too much in the way of spoilers, but it’s pretty clear from the beginning that these people aren’t real. The characters tend to be pretty flat and stiff, but I got some good images from the battle simulations. I expect the target audience here is gamers. Three stars.

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