About The Book
The job seemed simple enough: collect the package and deliver it to Europa within two days’ time, no questions asked. If only the client hadn’t lied about there being no catch…
A tale from the Jovian Empire.
I just finished a new short by H.L. Moore. “The Courier” a quick read at just 32 pages. But boy does Moore rip through the scenery in that brief amount of time.
Chen is a high-paid courier (don’t call them a smuggler) who transports valuable objects around the solar system. The scion of a rich starship-building family, Chen has chosen to go it on his own.
What seems like an innocuous job (which the price tag suggests is anything but) soon proves to be much more difficult than Chen had expected, as they risk life and limb to deliver the contents of a briefcase safely to Europa.
And damn, what a journey it is. The action kicks into high gear soon after Chen gets underway and doesn’t let up. H.L. keeps you guessing who the good guys are and who wears the black hats, and the secret cargo is a mystery that pulls you right through the story. We’re given hints – the recipient is a famous (and infamous) geneticist – so I was thinking plague virus, or something equally sinister. I was pleasantly surprised to learn what it was that Chen carried, and it plays nicely into the ending.
I was surprised where it ended… but I think Moore wanted to leave it with a bit of mystery. Still, it works.
I read Chen’s sexual and gender identity one way, but not apparently in the way that the author intended. It’s a subtle thing, and I’d love to hear your take on it when you read this story.
This was a fast, fun read, with a few bits that are not for the faint of heart. Moore’s worldbuilding is first-class, and there’s never a dull moment. I’m excited to see what she comes up with next in this short story cycle.
“The Courier” is the second story in the Jovian Empire series, after last year’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” which released first but will be chronologically last in the eight-story arc H.L. has planned.
Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.