RogerBW's Blog

Squishy's Teams, Kristine Kathryn Rusch 30 June 2023

2020 science fiction, tenth in the Diving Universe series. Contemporary with Boneyards, Squishy's various sabotage teams destroy stealth tech research stations across the Empire.

Hmm. Like Escaping Amnthra, this feels like material that might have been cut from an earlier, longer draft of the parent book – but in this case the parent book is one I didn't particularly enjoy (in retrospect, it was probably the low point of my enthusiasm for the series). As Rusch warns in a prefatory note, you shouldn't read this without having read Boneyards, on which it relies for its skeleton – we get multiple narratives jumping about, including the five two-person teams sent out on sabotage missions, and some of the personnel on the main station, but no repetition of material or viewpoints that were in the earlier book.

Taken as a whole, I think the point of this chunk of narrative is a meditation on the possibility of ethical covert operations. How much do you need to compromise your plans in order to make sure nobody gets killed by your sabotage, and how much less likely does that make the success of your overall plan? How do you cope when things go wrong and some of them get killed anyway? Would it have made sense to recruit some actual trained saboteurs who'd had to think about this stuff in advance, rather than ideological enthusiasts who would feel punched in the ethics and start making bad decisions when someone did get accidentally killed? (Yes, it really would.)

It's interesting, but very fragmented.

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See also:
Boneyards, Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Previous in series: Thieves | Series: Diving Universe | Next in series: Maelstrom

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