Synopsis: Shiron is the oldest human in the universe, the ancient keeper of “Arighan’s Flower” – one of the four eponymous weapons from a famous artisan. Arighan implanted a fantastical superforce in each of his weapons. Flower is not only lethal for the shot person, but all of his ancestors, whiping them from history as if they never existed.
A robotic visitor asks Shiron to once again use her weapon – this time on one of Arighan’s children.
Review: The author constructed a kind of time travel loop – because if Arighan would be killed indirectly by his own weapon, he couldn’t have created it and in effect couldn’t be shot by it. Lee explains this paradoxon in a mystical reference to demigods, and if the fantastical weapon abilities don’t make this story to a work of fantasy, then the author’s explanation did it.
It’s very often the case that I admire and love Lee’s stories – his recent steampunk fantasy novel Phoenix Extravagant, or his novelette Foxfire, Foxfire. Very typical for him is to bring settings remembering of Korean traditions, and this story doesn’t deviate from that tendency: Believe in ancestor’s is an ancient tradition not only in Korea, and an ultimate kill would be to erase all of them with one action.
As a side effect of using the weapon, Shiron branches off a new universe within the multiverse and sends her to it, back in time of the first ancestor.
Lee’s take on multiverses and time travel ends in a philosophical narration about responsibility. These six pages is brimmed with self-referencing and deserves a second or third read before one can understand it completely.
I recommend this very short story to readers who don’t need an exact classification in a subgenre, who love mathematical / philosphical treaties and time travels. It is idea-driven, so don’t expect any action whatsoever.