I realised that I didn’t really have a good place to put novellas, and so I’m including them here; to me they fit better in this series than they do in the short story posts I’ve been doing. Novelettes will probably go in the short stories’ posts, though.
19) The Political Officer by C.C. Finlay
I just started reading Lightspeed Magazine #23 (yes, I know I’m behind) and this is the subscription-exclusive novella in that issue. It’s set on a starship, and concerns the movements of the ship’s Political Officer, Max, who appears to be half busybody/spy and half extension of the Government. It’s his job to make decisions that the captain can’t make – for instance, military actions that would significantly affect policy – whilst spying on the other members of the crew. I found this interesting, and I also found it interesting that the captain, the high-ranking intelligence officer and him are all the same rank, and all at the top of the pecking order in their own way. Having three people at the top of three separate chains of command seemed a bit unrealistic, if I’m honest, but I don’t know much about military bureaucracy so I’m going to let it slide.
All in all, I thought this was a fairly enjoyable romp through a spaceship, but it didn’t really hugely engage me. The ideas contained herein are very secondary to the protagonist and the plot, so on the hard SF front it doesn’t score brilliantly. My recommendation: If you find it in front of you, give it a go, but don’t seek it out.