Tuesday, May 14, 2013
"Scream Angels" from Douglas Smith's Chimerascope
Originally appeared in Low Port.
This won an Aurora award.
Collected in Chimerascope for ChiZine
Captain Trelayne is tortured but he enjoys it. He has become this way after encountering a scream angel. He'd been in the RIP forces, Relocation of Indigenous Peoples, convicted of treason. The scream angels are bird-like aliens, much sought after. The female produces a powerful drug during reproduction, so they force breeding pairs to remain in reproduction. The military keeps its soldiers hooked on scream, so they do as they're told just to get a dose.
The captain had fallen for Philomela [reference to Greek myth]. He "frees" her to stay with him. Though she stayed with Trelayne, he cannot believe she loves him. Trelayne gets caught holding on to a breeding pair, pushing him into crime. Although freed, Trelayne has to break his addiction and somehow get a new start on life.
The opening feels derivative and melodramatic, but once you're dropped back in the past, the story feels rich, original and potent.