Neanderthals by Gardner Dozois, Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, Jan/Feb 2018

Mr. Dozois is a long time editor Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and for more than the past three decades, The Years Best Science Fiction. I was rather reluctant to read this story, simply due to the fact that editors don’t always make good writers, but this piece held its own.

A man travels back in time to assassinate someone in a war that spans spacetime. In this reality, Neanderthals have been brought back into existence through genetic means and are used as muscle and bodyguards.

Most of the piece revolves around a conversation between the narrator and a Neanderthal concerning this spacetime spanning war. The Neanderthal doesn’t believe the narrator, and then the narrator divulges that he hates Neanderthals and kills them whenever he gets a chance. He’s a huge asshole, even though this specific Neanderthal has been a pretty nice guy.

For me, I had a difficult time really connecting with the narrator–she just seemed like, well, a bad person, and so I didn’t want him to succeed. The writing was good though–as in clear and concise, but still, not my favorite piece. (C-)


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