Review: “Switch” by Steve Pantazis

5 of 5 stars.

From the first lines, this short story captures and maintains the tone and essence of film noir in a science fiction detective story. In the near future, Detective Sergeant Terrance Parker of the NYPD is investigating the unprovoked murder of a cop. The suspect is an upper middle-class teenager, star athlete, good student, and now dead perp on the scene, but not before taking down three cops [two in critical] with only three bullets. Drugs. But not just any drug: Switch. Could one small tab of a drug turn a kid into a killer? Parker has some personal experience with Switch. He’s seen its highs and lows and its extraordinary effect on the common man–or rather on himself as he takes one with breakfast everyday to keep his edge.

Parker’s first person narration of the story quickly makes the scenes immersive as they are filtered through different stages of drug trips at various dosages. The senses warp accordingly. His experience of the passing of time slows. His interaction with his own brain, neural system, and embedded neural technology approach the molecular level.

The concept and writing of this story is brilliant. It is also accompanied by an illustration by artist contest winner Daniel Tyka. As a quarterly short story contest winner, “Switch” merited inclusion in the anthology Writers of the Future Volume 31 by L. Ron Hubbard. I received the anthology through Net Galley.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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