Diamonds from Tequila • 2014 • Near Future SF novelette by Walter Jon Williams

★★★☆☆

Synopsis: The story starts with the title in a figurative sense, as innovator Ossley demonstrates how he can use a 3D printer to produce a perfectly fine red wine within half an hour. Ossley is the assistant prop master for a movie produced in Mexico. Ossley doesn’t stop there but prints also different things, like a plastic bong, or, well drugs – but that appears only later on in the story.

Ossley is only a sidekick of interest to the first person narrator Sean, the Hollywood star acting in the movie. With his secretive past – having murdered twice – and his ugly looks he is not exactly a likeable main protagonist. But his tabloid lover, sweet coactor Loni is, if she wouldn’t have been shot in her own room and thereby endangering the whole production.

Sean tries frantically to save the movie. He unveils Ossley’s tests with drugs, and contacts the local mafia boss – 3D printed drugs cannot be in his interests, and some millions should flow to hold back the innovation.

Review: Williams refers to an article by Mexican scientists who describe the process to really get diamonds from tequila.

Looking back this near future prediction of producing food, or medicine (or drugs) with 3D printers was top-notch. Weaving the idea into this story could have been easy, but Williams decided against that way and drew a quite complex situation.

This SF noir raced with thriller like high pace through the plot constellations and was a good fun to read. If only the Sean wouldn’t have been cut out from his former existence in a novel with many references which I didn’t get.

On re-read, the story lost some quality and I was irritated more by Sean’s voice and behavior. At first reading in the Rogues anthology, the story got four stars, but I’ve reduced one star now.

Meta: isfdb. I’ve read it in the anthology Rogues by Dozois and reread it in the collection Best of Walter Jon Williams published by Subterranean.

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4 Responses to Diamonds from Tequila • 2014 • Near Future SF novelette by Walter Jon Williams

  1. pdtillman says:

    I’d go along with your review. First read definitely better than the second! I won’t reread it again. Not soon, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pdtillman says:

    I think I’ve read (and liked) all of his Praxis novels/novellas. “Margaux” is (I think) material that incorporated into one of those books? In any case, once I realized I’d read it prior, I stopped the re-read.

    I’m getting fairly close to finishing the Sub Press collxn…..

    Liked by 1 person

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