Review of Louis Evans, “Surgical Strike,” Radon Journal 3 (January 2023): 20-28 — Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.
Content note: Sexually explicit material.
This story was prefaced by one of the most intriguing content notes that I’ve ever come across. [It does not highlight the same issue I have highlighted in my content note.] It identifies the key piece of fantasy that the story relies on, and explicitly says that such a fantasy should not be engaged with. The paradox is that we cannot help but engage with the fantasy while we are reading it.
There are some stories that I come away from reading thinking, “of all the stories that could have been told, why this one?” I was worried that I would have the same reaction here: Given the problematic fantasy upon which it is premised, why tell this story, instead of the innumerable other stories that could be told instead?
Sadly, I think I was right to be worried. By the time I reached the end, all I could think of was the other stories I could have read instead. There was a lack of finesse that made the entire story feel a bit clumsy; and definitely not for me.