5 of 5 stars.
Having never read anything by this author despite being a fan of the television series, A Game of Thrones, based on his book series, A Song of Fire and Ice, I was curious upon seeing this short story included in Extreme Zombies edited by Paula Guran. This story falls within the genre of dystopian science fiction, not unlike Pierce Brown’s Red Rising. It is definitively not a traditional zombie story. The zombies here are moreso animated corpses such as found in the voodoo/Obeah tradition, but without the religious overtones.
Greg Trager is a corpsehandler on an off-world industrial site. Corpsehandlers mentally control teams of reanimated corpses to accomplish very large work loads. [The corpses replace living humans much as automation replaces factory workers in today’s factories.] The corpses are not the plot here, Trager is. He is adept at handling increasingly larger teams, but he is stumble-bumbling his way through understanding the complex interactions of living people. He just wants to find love, real love.
There are hits and misses and complex friendships with people of both sexes. The short story manages to follow Trager over the course of a few years of maturation and through a few jobs on a couple different off-world planets or moons. It does not take long to care and empathize with curious, sensitive Trager as he develops into a young, strong man from his beginning as a awkward teenager.
I highly recommend this story.
[Check out my other reviews here.]