REVIEW: “Given Sufficient Desperation” by Bogi Takács

Review of Bogi Takács, “Given Sufficient Desperation”, in The Trans Space Octopus Congregation Stories, (Lethe Press, Inc., 2019): 65-77 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

Content warning: ableism, occupation and warfare, physical violence, torture.

“We all do what we can to survive” (p. 69).

This is one of those sly sci-fi stories where the aliens and the science and the experiments slide in almost unnoticed, and when you do realise what’s going on, it’s all the more creepily chilling. As in “Forestspirit, Forestspirit”, Takács draws upon actual science for this story, and provides references at the end (always a plus in my book!). This anchoring of fiction in actual fact also contributes to the overall creepiness!

Takács’s prose in this story is spare and sparse, full of incomplete sentences and short, staccato paragraphs. This sharp rhythm combined with the first-person POV results in a very intimate, personal impression of Vera, the narrator, and I loved the lyricism of it all.

Readers who are looking for more disability representation in their SFF will be interested to know that Vera is dyspraxic.

(First published in Defying Doomsday, ed. by Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench, 2016).

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