This fast-paced story does not feel like it is 20 pages long. I especially appreciated how the “creep factor” is communicated. Paul Di Filippo shows how the concept—the technology to grow real human faces and the black market that this technology creates—is “normal” for the characters, while maintaining the horror of the concept for the readers. The narrative is brisk, maintaining the action-oriented perspective of the main character; however, the micro-chapters (the 20-page story is split into 6 short “chapters” to demonstrate transitions in time/location) seem like a distraction. The characters fulfill their roles, staying true to the situation and the world Di Filippo created, while also presenting themselves as sufficiently unique and interesting to propel the story. This science fiction/crime drama is definitely an effective example of a cross-genre story, in which Di Filippo balances the “requirements” of both genres while telling a compelling story.
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