Title: The Wings The Lungs, The Engine The Heart
Author: Laurie Tom
In: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dieselpunk, Science fiction
Dates read: 25th March 2020
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: Instead Karl and a handful of others were dispatched like jackals along the Western Front, each with a godforsaken contraption to use when a suitable candidate was found.
They’ve created a brand new way to keep people alive – a Heart in a Box. But when it’s attached to a pilot who was shot down, serious moral, social and ethical questions begin to come to light.
At the start of this story I was a bit “eh” about it. There didn’t seem to be much that seriously was going to draw me in. And I mostly cringed at the whole idea – a heart in a box that could bring the dead back to life. And they chose someone whose heart had been impacted by a bullet… it was a set up for something of a tragedy that I was waiting to find cringe-worthy. It didn’t end up going this way. But at the beginning I did have some reservations.
Yet, after that initial feeling of reservation, I actually found that I really, really enjoyed this short story. The pilot fought to keep his job, yet didn’t really understand the politics. Actually, the whole discussion surrounding politics, PR and the media was kind of fascinating. And probably the most realistic part of this whole collection.
This is a great short story, and a great way to round out The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk. I loved this ending. It was not quite what was expected. There was a bit of a feeling of a conspiracy and it all ended on a very open note. But it worked perfectly.
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