Short Fiction Friday: Elephants and Corpses

Elephants and Corpses by Kameron Hurley

The corpse-jumping body mercenary Nev is used to filling other people’s shoes. When his assistant Tera recognizes the most recent waterlogged cadaver they bought off the street, though, he finds that his new body is carrying more trouble than he bargained for.

I have heard a lot of positive news about Kameron Hurley's writing, her Bel Dame series and the last year released The Mirror Empire have gotten rave reviews. A week ago or so this story was posted on Tor.com and I took to reading it and was hooked. This is a cool story with an awesome concept, it is with such stories that I wish that there were more stories, or that Kameron Hurley writes a full length book with the adventures of Nev and Tera! 

The story picks up with Nev and Tera standing and the cities pier where they are bartering to buy a body. Here you learn that Nev is a body merc and that Tera is his body manager, Nev can use dead bodies to jump into and well, yeah live with them once again. A big "portfolio" of candidates gives him a lot more breathing space. Even with Nev's discontinued membership of the Body Mercenary Guild, he is still able to practice his skills but his business has been far from thriving. While they are preparing the body for preservation (later use) they stumble upon something, they though they bought a male body, but it is actually a female that was dressed as a male, just as Tera makes an even more shocking discovery a group of people makes a unscheduled drop-in and they claim the body that Tera and Nev bought. And they succeed, but at a price for Nev, as he looses something very previous to him. However with the discovery that Tera made and with what Nev lost they are more than determined to get the body back and get revenge no matter the cost. This sets the wheel in motion of a highly eventful encounter in the end, full of action, body switching and a turtle. 

Kameron Hurley shows from the beginning of the story that she knows how to write a solid short story. The story is brimming with details and very cool concepts. Where some authors sacrifice in tomes of book, there aren't any sacrifices when it comes to world building and character exposition in this short story. In the introduction of the story with the mentioning of body mercs my interest was piqued and Kameron Hurley finishes the story in a rapid pacing. I do have to mention that writing about body jumping and such can pose problems i.e. with execution but in the confines of Elephants and Corpses, Kameron Hurley shows that she is on top of these pitfall. 

I sincerely hope that we will see a full length book or even a series of the adventures of Nev and Tera, they deserve it! 

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