I received a review copy of FALL in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank J.P. Ashman for the opportunity. As this is a short story I will keep my musings brief too.
FALL is an excellent cyberpunk action thriller that follows a female soldier called Senfel. As the only survivor of her prior mission, she is still badly injured yet it is mentally where she is most scarred, continuously reliving the haunting and devastating scenario over and over. She seeks her employer looking to get back out into the field through any available work. She is given a difficult ‘select target’ objective to complete. This is essentially an assault on an assigned group of people from a particular planet and these jobs can have catastrophic consequences.
Following on from Dragonship and Grannit, this is the third Ashman short story that I have read and enjoyed. It is his first foray into science-fiction and the finest of his works that I’ve reviewed. After the first two sections which set the scene, FALL is an adrenaline-pumping, engaging and violent sci-fi thriller which highlights a gritty potential future for humanity. This brief narrative includes chaotic and destructive weaponry such as Shock-Maces and Shredder-Waves as well as advanced equipment such as electro-gauntlets and vision enhancing masks. The people using these items throughout though are still very human in nature and their emotions are relatable to modern day. We follow two point of view perspectives featuring characters on both sides of the raid which gives a great 360 view of all actions. With FALL, which highlights only one mission, Ashman creates a very believable dark and bloody world and I’d be interested to follow Senfel further in a full-length novel. The tale incorporates approximately six main characters and the author skilfully made me care about them in a short space of time. This is one of the reasons that the ending was so shocking and uncomfortable to read. The finale is poignant and completely unexpected. FALL takes less than an hour to complete and is an enjoyable, thrilling and brutal sci-fi tale. Recommend.