Saturday, January 17, 2009

Brandon Sanderson's "Firstborn" (novelette, space opera, free)

Illustration accompanying the online copy at Tor of short story titled Firstborn by Brandon SandersonA galactic scale empire, arranged on feudal & caste based lines. A brilliant general sent out to subdue rebels. He's too good & helps empire expand a lot - until the emperor finds the general is too much of a threat.

General's clone is created - 20 years younger. Designed to defeat his older self. But two have opposite temperaments - general doesn't know how to lose, clone doesn't now how to win.

At some stage, we have a mugged & arbitrary scene that turns general into a monster, out to defeat the empire. Clone is on the side of empire, & will ultimately win by a simple & ridiculous observation that works because author says it works.

Overall, I'll call it a not-bad read, if long. Many space battles & their holographic simulations, & some jargon. Someone with a taste for space opera & retro-societies will probably like it more than I did.

Fact sheet.

First published: Sometime in 2008 in Leading Edge. Reprinted at Tor, 18 December 2008.
Rating: B.
Download full text from Tor.