Shorts: Broken Wings

Broken Wings is a true action-adventure science-fiction tale, complete with space pirates, a love story, and plenty of quarreling. Ledbetter has adeptly created a character who is more powerful than she knows, who fights for what she wants.

BROKEN WINGS

William Ledbetter
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2018

STORY

There’s intrigue, suspense, and a load of danger all packed into this short punch of a story. Basically, a man and a woman have a thing for each other but neither of them thinks they’re good enough so they just talk over the intercoms for months or years. Very middle school. Then, one day, the guy shows up with this huge alien artifact he’s found buried in an asteroid. It’s confiscated, of course, and before he can get it back, he’s kidnapped by space pirates, lost to space forever.

But not so fast! She saves the day, removing her prostheses and latching onto a robot who shoots her through open space toward the escaping ship. That’s right, she literally flies through miles of open space attached to a human-sized robot, seemingly unafraid of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. Badass. Cue an attempted sabotage of the ship, a run-in with a rogue robot and said pirate captain, and she saves the day. In the end, the lovers become mining partners, imagining their future together. Total Zorro-meets-space and I love it.


CHARACTERS

This main character is shy and unsure of herself yet she turns into a superhero when it matters. She manages to turn on the robots, propel them into space, and command a team of robots to take down the pirate ship. I love how confident she becomes – it’s inspiring and well done.

It’s clear that the author has a fondness for the Beatles, and I loved that the robots are named after the group members. The final name of the ship (Blackbird) ties the story title together with the Beatles motif. Very clever, and fitting with the miner’s personality.


SETTING

Broken Wings starts on Deimos, zips through open space, dallies around a bit on top of a pirate spaceship, then heads back to the safety of the air base. A perfect use of space as an action-adventure setting.


CONCEPTS

Space, Mars, Deimos, Pirates, Aliens, Artifact, Fight, Action Adventure, Science Fiction

Interested in more stories like Broken Wings? Check out more reviews in our The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction section.

Photo by Hannes Wolf on Unsplash

2 Thoughts

  1. I love that the hero is a disabled woman!
    I take umbrage with your phrase “Her legs are paralyzed, yet she manages to turn on robots….”.
    She doesn’t need legs to be a bad ass!
    Your phrasing is ableist.

    1. Thank you for pointing that out. I apologize, I was attempting to say how awesome she is and that her disability doesn’t affect her being a badass character, but I realize now that the way I wrote it can be seen differently.

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