Thursday, 13 July 2017

How to Piss Off a Failed Super-soldier by John Chu

How to Piss Off a Failed Super-soldier by John Chu is a short story published by Book Smugglers last year. I bought it close to the release but only just got around to reading it. It's not very long — technically novelette length — and I easily read it in a single sitting.

From the moment of his birth, Aitch has been prodded, tested, and measured by his scientist mother, by the shadowy government who monitor his every move, and even by his superior younger brother, Jay. When Aitch escapes from his life as a bonafide lab animal, he becomes the DRP's most wanted subject. They will stop at nothing to terminate Aitch and cover up their failed super-soldier project--and when coercion and high-tech weapons won't work, they aren't above assassins and espionage.

Aitch will fight his mother and the DRP to his dying breath, until he learns from Jay that there might be a cure for his super-powers. He starts to believe he could have a future: one that doesn't end in blood and violence, and involves a broad-shouldered man with warm eyes... Aitch just has to trust Jay first.

That's probably a longer blurb than strictly necessary for a story this short, so I'll skip my usual summary and jump to my thoughts. I liked how much of the worldbuilding, for lack of a better word, was implied rather than explicit. I realise it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoy stories that encourage the reader to fill in some of the blanks (so long as those gaps aren't too gaping, which they're not in How to Piss Off a Failed Super-soldier). I also generally enjoy unreliable narrators, so this story ticked quite a few boxes for me. For whatever reason, the narrator completely misinterpreting what someone said to him worked well for me, possibly because of the execution, which could easily have been annoying.

I don't think I can say much else about this story without going into spoilers. I really enjoyed it and I recommend it to fans of John Chu and slightly absurd and slightly military science fiction. I am always going to be happy to read another John Chu story and will grab any that cross my path.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2016, Book Smugglers
Series: No.
Format read: ePub
Source: Purchased, I think from the Book Smugglers website

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