4 of 5 stars.
This short story expertly displays the stylings of a sci-fi thriller. In a tech-heavy, dystopian Australia of the future, illegal immigration is big business on the black market and a major focus of the government. Police strong arm civilians for leads and control most of the internet connections.
In this quick tale, major players all converge on a single cafe in a rougher part of town heavy with immigrants, legal and illegal. Vu Thi Lynn is a citizen daughter of immigrants who helps Vietnamese escape the oppressive regimes that have Southeast Asia in their grip. She needs Mr. Nguyen’s untraceable internet connection and money transfer abilities to move her latest charges. The entire connection and transfer will take thirty tense minutes, and Nguyen’s last minute “extra” fees aren’t helping. Nor are the immigration police that have tailed him and entered the cafe with just twelve minutes more needed to secure the transfer of funds . . .
The concept and writing of this story is intriguing. The story is illustrated by artist contest winner Quinlan Septer. As a quarterly short story contest winner, “Twelve Minutes to Vinh Quang” merited inclusion in the anthology Writers of the Future Volume 31 by L. Ron Hubbard. I received the anthology through Net Galley.
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