Hard Reboot

Django Wexler. Tor.com, $13.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-250-79026-2
Fantasy writer Wexler (Siege of Rage and Ruin) envisions a future of robotic melees in a short sci-fi novel that’s long on mecha action and character development. Scholar Zychtykas Three (“Kas to her friends, of which she had none”) is part of an academic visit to Old Earth, where she’s conned into betting away her academy’s money by Zhi Zero, a robot pilot. To regain her purse, Kas must use her knowledge of ancient tech to help Zhi prepare a secretly salvaged Third Empire warbot for a return bout with Zhi’s nemesis. The alternative would be to stay with her faculty colleagues and surreptitiously complete assignments on behalf of their lazy but socially prominent prize pupil, who prefers visiting the local brothels to studying. Wexler takes a sardonic tone in his descriptions of future Earth as a planet where the physical and virtual landscapes are littered with toxic waste, but the inhabitants still foster a sense of community and cheerful disdain for their wealthy off-world visitors. Though this stands alone, readers would surely welcome further adventures featuring the unlikely duo of Kas and Zhi. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/22/2021
Release date: 05/25/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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