Saturday, March 14, 2015
The Regular, by Ken Liu
Ken Liu is an extremely hot property in SF right now. Last year he had a couple of stories nominated, and this year he has one novella and one editor nomination (by Cixin Liu, no relation so far as I can tell). The Regular is a typically strong entry from him. The protagonist is a private detective, and this is a pretty straight up noir crime story. But the characters set it apart and get the award nomination. Ruth Law appears caucasian but lives in Chinatown, and there's enough Chinese in her to allow for limited speaking. She left the police force after a traumatic decision and has since had several personal enhancements. In the afterword Liu says he is indeed playing with the "cyborg" concept, noting how far we've come along that line. I'd say it's somewhat true, at least. And an enhancement is the turning point in the story. I won't quite spoil it, but the author might have gone further and had the criminal write or commission an app to detect his victims, since it seems quite possible. 3 stars from me. It has a good helping of everything you'd want--characters, action, science. Check it out.