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

Commander Hoshi Tenzen of the Japanese Space Self Defense Force is in command of the warship Takao when he notices four Chinese “merchant” ships that are acting oddly. He is contacted by Prometheus Control on Titan, which warns him the ships seem overly interested in the colony. It appears the Chinese vessels are actually warships on a bombing run, and the Americans on Titan ask for help. An extended, edge-of-your-seat battle ensues.

This is likely a fest for the space opera crowd, as there’s a lot of detail about the ships, weapons and tactics. There’s heroism and sacrifice. There’s also Japanese language. Cheah Kai Wai apparently speaks Japanese, as those cuss words roll off his pen (er, keyboard) with authenticity. I also suspect he’s got his finger on a few elements of Asian politics, as there’s a little subtext there. On the negative side, there’s too much emphasis on military detail and not enough on the characters. I may not be picking up the memes, but I never did connect with these people or get interested in what they were doing. Three stars.

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