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Impetus (Short Review)

Impetus is a rollercoaster of emotions, combining the thrill of racing with the struggles of poverty and loss. Landry presents a strong, even-paced narrative that will make you feel excited and sad at the circumstances this family has to overcome. All-in-all, it’s an effortless bit of writing, showing us a future where struggle is all too real.

IMPETUS

Shane Landry
Analog Science Fact & Fiction, September/October 2018 Issue

Spoiler
STORY

I was most impressed with how robust Impetus was. It’s not just a racing story, though that does make up the core. Landry inserts family drama, past tragedies and present heartbreak around this central technology. You really get to know the character as she tries to regain her place in the world of racing after a nearly fatal incident. She’s propelled by her father’s diagnosis and the prospect of complete poverty that looms mere days away.

The racing appears to be done in over-sized armored suits that fly around an arena and are able to perform stunts. I imagine it to be a combination of Iron Man and gymnastics. It’s an interesting concept that sets the performance completely on the racer. Every twitch of their body affects the race, so it’s the ultimate test of a person’s skill. The story has a bittersweet ending, with tragedy for the present and hope for the future.


CHARACTERS

The main character is a full of conflicting emotions as she tries to save her family. Excitement at getting back to a career she loved. Fear at repeating her past mistakes and potentially losing her life. Anxiety at the stakes riding on this one race. Love as she tries to save her father, and secure a future for her brother. Overall, her determination to succeed fuels her to the finish line. The brother and father are also well-developed characters. They complement the main character as she tries to overcome her demons.


SETTING

Impetus takes place in future Japan. The country struggles with unemployment, which seems to be greatly affected by the longer life span of its citizens. Money and food are scarce, and people look to racing as a major form of entertainment. Beyond the technology of the racing suit, the only major tech is a small robo-spider that makes a brief cameo. Overall, it seems like a world at the tipping point between recovery and chaos.


CONCEPTS

Future, Japan, Racing, Technology, Robot, Poverty

Interested in more stories like Impetus? Read our short reviews here.

Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash