Small Thoughts: We Mete Justice with Beak and Talon by Jeremiah Tolbert, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Sept/Oct 2018

Jeremiah Tolbert might be new to the pages of F&SF, but he seems like an old hat to those who follow other genre magazines such as Uncanny, Lightspeed, and Clarkesworld. Tolbert skews, if my memory serves, many of his stories to immediate action scenes that illustrate a technology or idea relevant in todays world.

This story deals with drones, but more specifically, how drones are regulated, or not, and how they can be used for illegal use. Drones are already used to deliver illegal packages to people in prison–so, what happens when the first murder is committed with a illegally modified drone? How will law enforcement respond? This story goes way past these questions and strikes at the eventuality of political assassination attempts using such technology.

This story is a in-depth look at how this type of crime would be fought. It uses (mostly) a 2nd person plural narration as minds and instincts are fused with technologies, the idea being that, though drones may be the latest tech, sometimes it is the old way of doing things that are the best. In Europe, for instance, falconers have been used to target illegal drone use. That’s a hint.

A thoroughly enjoyable piece from a writer that always brings a solid story to his readers. This is the first story I’ve read from this issue and I picked Tolbert’s story because I typically enjoy his work.

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