Welcome to a very special I got up at 0515 in the morning for a flight that has now been delayed until 0945 edition of my No Shit ToC blogging! My apologies in advance to both reader and the writer whose story I’m about to talk about, because I’m not sure how coherent I actually am right now.
Today’s story is The Pursuit of Happiness by William RD Wood. I mentioned before that we tended to classify our slush pile on scales between two stories. The Pursuit of Happiness has the (dubious?) honor of fighting to pin the “bleak” side of the tonal scale. (There’s another story it traded off with, which I’ll talk about on another day, and I’m still not sure which of them wins. Depends on what sort of existential despair I’m feeling at the time.)
The Pursuit of Happiness is a gritty, (quasi)military SF-with-more-than-a-dash-of-horror story that involves an alien invasion and a small squad of mercenaries just trying to get the hell out of Dodge. Spoiler, humanity isn’t exactly acing this encounter. But what made it stand out to me the most are the characters that William builds in the pages. I loved the dialog, the banter, the interactions, because it said so much about each of them and rendered lengthier exposition unnecessary. It’s a fun read with a deliberate pace. If there’s a military SF equivalent to hardboiled, William nails it.
And the aliens? Incredibly creepy.
And–well, if you want to know more, you’ll just have to support the Kickstarter and read the story. I’ve got a plane to board now. Hopefully. Wish me luck.