Introduction by Bascomb James.
Noir science fiction emerged at the end of the Golden Age (1938-1950) when a number of established writers began to explore new themes and new science fiction styles. The cynical and stylized perspective of classic noir fiction became increasingly popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Jack Finney’s The Body Snatchers (1955), Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room! (1966), and Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) are some of the best known examples of noir science fiction of the era. Noir SF had a significant impact on science fiction films and the cyberpunk movement that emerged in the early 1980s. “Composition in Death Minor” continues the noir tradition and infuses it with modern tech-based world building. Author K. G. Jewell introduces us to Sophie Devine, a hard-as-nails assassin and concert cellist. She has a job to do and doesn’t like assholes.
K.G. Jewell lives and writes in Austin, Texas. His stories of short speculative fiction have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, andUnidentified Funny Objects. He’s working on a novel relating the further adventures of Sophie Devine, cello player and intergalactic assassin. His website, which is rarely updated, is lit.kgjewell.com.
Composition in Death Minor
Playing classical cello was a lot like assassination. The threads of a good composition and the components of a reliable plan were surprisingly similar; just as years of cello rehearsals and performances had taught Sophie Devine to catch an off note before it could be heard by the audience, years of successful hits allowed her to recognize that her plan had gone wrong.
The entry agent’s eyes barely flickered at the passport, but they flickered. Sophie tensed; she’d been made.
“Purpose of your visit?” Perhaps the note could be turned, the piece salvaged.
She discarded her cover story as a commodities vendor.
“Espionage.” Not quite true, but espionage was slightly more socially acceptable than assassination.
(...Read the full story in Far Orbit: Speculative Space Adventures.)
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