Slipping • 2014 • shortstory by Lauren Beukes

★★★★1/2

Meta: ISFDB. This Near SF short story appeared in the 2014 anthology Twelve Tomorrows, my review here. The story is included in Strahan’s Best SF&F vol. 9.

A very good anthology start!

I was instantly reminded of Oscar Pistarius, running at the Paralympics on his prosthetics blades. In this story, female protagonist Pearl is enhanced with two blades. But the technology doesn’t stop there: Most of her inner organs are replaced to reduce weight, other disabled runners are turned into running animals or even remote controlling a dead body.

Beukes tells a sports story in cut narration technique which throws you directly into the scenery without explanations: the preparations for a race, the interviews, the relatives and her Christian community praying and cheering for her, the struggle for sponsors.

It is also a coming-of-age story on the background of South Africa, embracing religious feelings, a hint at a lesbian encounter, and the fear of being used as an idol.

I’ve read Lauren Beukes‘ Zoo City before, but wasn’t able to connect to her style. She uses exactly the same style in this story – African slang, foreign words, etc. But in this story form it worked for me very well.

The only thing I missed in her strong female girl protagonist was a bit more emotions.

 

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