Review: “Limited Liability” by Matthew Graybosch

2 of 5 stars.

Included in Chronology published by Curiosity Quills Press, this short piece of science fiction envisions the extremes of corporate freedom in space exploitation. Mars and the moon have been colonized and many small asteroids have been pulled into Earth’s orbit and been mined. Now, Michael Chapman, CEO of Cerean Mineral Extraction, pulls his best McScrooge to cajole his regular investors into his potentially disastrous scheme to pulls Ceres into Earth orbit for mining purposes, using college drop-outs to prepare his data. Even his investors, like Ron Davis, that stuck with him after his environmentally destructive venture into trying to bring Three Mile Island back online are running from this opportunity. And not without their sense of humor:

Chapman followed his host into the kitchen. “Were you about to meet somebody for dinner? Who’s the lucky guy this time?”
Davis shot Chapman a cockeyed smile. “Maybe it’s you, if you’re man enough.”
“Encouraging me to screw my investors, are you?”
“Actually, I’d be screwing you.” Ron opened a cabinet and retrieved a bottle of whiskey and two glasses.
“Even if you were my type, I’m not in the mood. I wasted the last three days talking to people who backed my ventures in the past, only to turn chickenshit on me.”

Chapman walks out of Davis’ condo without an investor and walks into a tranquilizer dart. From here, the story devolves into a confused mess of drug-addled scenes and possible holo-decks. Layers and layers of holo-decks. Chapman is given the whole A Christmas Carol treatment by Morgan Stormrider of the Phoenix Society whom had already gotten to each of Chapman’s investors before he could pitch to them. The bulk of the story rests with Chapman with his immoral greed and Stormrider with his righteous fury in these layers psychological trips, but neither man is developed beyond a two-dimensional archetypal position, nor is the story resolved.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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