Currently Reading - The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection


25. “Snake Eyes” by Tom Maddox

When you let the US military mess with your mind, you don’t get it back so easily.

At the beginning of the story I felt like this was a Vietnam War metaphor. At the end I felt like it was the uncompleted opening to a novel. Although, I’ve trouble imagining where that could go without twisting away from the focus of the story so far.

Thinking about it, perhaps the reason this feels unsatisfactorily incomplete is the AI and minions promising our test protagonist subject great agonies, a need to endure some sort of baptism of fire before he can become fit for their purpose. And while he does try to kill himself, and fails, and thereby to have become what they wished to mould him into, and while we do mostly follow his perspective for this… I feel what we get is insufficiently internal. There is not enough sense of what he is going through to get closure on this arc. So I suppose in that sense I should regard this story as failed, or my reading of it was off.