Assassin in the Clouds by Robert R. Chase, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2018

When a secret agent is hired to protect a man aboard a futuristic zephyr made of transparent aluminum, what’s the worse that could happen? Well, somebody could tape an explosive to the bottom of the transparent swimming pool, for starters.

The blast begins a series of events in which the narrator/protagonist tries to uncover what Dr. Kamiji might have done or might be planning that would warrant an attack that could kill everyone on board.

At its core this piece is an action/mystery–most of the science fiction involved could be replaced with current technology in order to tell the same story. While this piece has some interesting visual descriptions and cool action sequences, it’s not anything particularly new, and even the reveals in at the end of the piece feel overdone from where I’m sitting–overly aware that Jeff Bezos is, someday soon, make all uneducated jobs obsolete with automation. Yes, this piece touches on this–it’s an exciting prospect, as we will have to find other ways in which to apportion wealth other than “work.”