Short Fiction Friday: Cassandra

Cassandra by Ken Liu, Clarkesworld #102

[no synopsis available] 

 A while ago I read Ken Liu's The Paper Menagerie and was taken by the emotional and powerful story. It really put me to thinking. I have been following his recent short story publications and found that he recently featured in this Clarkesworld issue 102, a SF/F magazine I only found out recently. So without any pre-knowledge about the story (no synopsis available), I jumped in. And again a winner. Believe me. 

The first thing that I had when I started reading Cassandra was confusion. But confusion in a good way. Ken Liu begins his story with a quote followed by a current event on tv followed by the perspective of the main protagonist of the story. Which I think is called Cassandra, a her. On the tv there is a scene where a superhero (Yes a story about superheroes!) named "Showboat" mention specifically to Cassandra that villainy doesn't pay. Yup, you follow the perspective of a villain in this story. I haven't come across this often, and I really liked this premise of the story. After this introduction you are given the low down on how Cassandra actually became the proposed villain of the story. Which started in the search of some hgihly sought after refreshment in terms of cool air. Her by chance Cassandra develops the power of foresight and well it is obvious that this changes her life. Drastically. She starts to see all that people plan to do, with a focus on the horrible and destructive things in life. Of course it is often said that seeing the future is only seeing it and once seen, it will change. But Cassandra doesn't truly believe in this and starts to take the reigns in her own hands. Yes she stops the persons before they can harm their loved ones or other innocent civilians. I also already mentioned that the story starts of with a superhero Showboat. I think you can imagine that this is an eventful short story! 

Just as with Ken Liu, The Paper Menagerie, there is something mroe going on than meets the proposed surface. Cassandra is a proposed villain of this story but is she really? When the actions of one person will lead to the death of one person, hundreds of persons or even thousands, is she really the villain here? It's a big ethical debate, that must also happen in our current world. Would you kill one man, yet innocent, but his actions will cause a lot of hurt, to save other people? I don't think there is a right answer here and there isn't one given. It's personal believes and your own view and a difficult and heavy subject. 

As I said you have to believe, this is a winner. 

Dont miss out, read the full story on Clarkesworld here


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