REVIEW: “In Dublin, Fair City” by Rick Wilbur

Review of Rick Wilbur, “In Dublin, Fair City”, Asimov’s Science Fiction November/December (2017): 48-67 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Kiera Lesley.

The third in a series of historical fiction novelettes by Rick Wilbur following the adventures of Moe Berg, a real-life baseball player and spy during the second world war.

Moe and his frequent collaborator – known by many names, but most often referred to simply as ‘the woman’ – heard to Dublin where the English government and royals have taken refuge from the German bombings of London, much to the irritation of the Irish.

Moe and the woman are involved in fights on trains, secretive meetings in pubs, bombings, running along beaches while being strafed by the Luftwaffe, all in the hopes of convincing the Irish not to defect to the German side and to help the German scientist, Heisenberg, to escape to the safety of America along with all his important plans and research for a ‘super bomb’ that could end the war.

The details of the time and place are lovely in this piece and Wilbur spends a lot of time with Moe wandering through Dublin and experiencing it all.

The necessary world and character information was mostly clearly conveyed, but as someone who hasn’t read the previous two stories I found some contextual information was not made clear – do they time travel? Forget their missions afterward? Or is this somehow sequential or running alongside the other stories?

I found the pace a bit slow for all of the explosions and guns in this, especially the start. The chemistry between Moe and the woman was also a little flat for me, perhaps it was developed more in previous stories and just hearkened back to here.

Overall this was a good historical story with some great action towards the end.