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The Other Gun by Neal Asher in Asimov’s Science Fiction April/May 2013

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The Other Gun by Neal Asher in Asimov’s Science Fiction April/May 2013 Is a cyberpunk/transhumanism story about a man named John and a girl, well people my age would say “a girl,” but a young woman on a quest for a piece of alien weaponry at the behest an alien, “The Client”. The Client had been an ally of the Polity in the Polity-Prador War until a falling out occured when their interests diverged. It (she?) had developed this weapon, the Farcaster, to destroy the Prador and to wreak its vengeance against them. The pieces were scattered and it (she?) wants them back very badly. There is more about The Client in Asher’s Rise of the Jain stories.

The man is mostly machine along the lines of the Bork in Zelazny’s story The Engine at heart Springs Center only without the tragedy, loss, and pathos. Well, maybe the pats. The girl is a woman in a Troodon body. It’s debatable as to how much humanity either retains. She provides John with the necessary muscle required for seeking The Farcaster in the Graveyard. The Graveyard you ask-- that's the lawless buffer zone made up of former polity Territory between the Polity and the Prador Kingdom. It’s a place where one might find things not available in Polity space, or at least die trying. It's where Isobel Satomi lives, works, and plays before she becomes a Hooder in the Transformation stories. The girl helps John sort out any difficulties he encounters in the search, though the details of her sorting are qualities like crunchiness and goodness with/without ketchup. Though a tough, formidable, hungry Troodon on the outside, she’s still a beautiful young woman on the inside as she carefully, meticulously, and skillfully applies makeup, eyeshadow, and fingernail polish. The importance of this detail will be revealed at the end of the story.