"Aztechs" by Lucius Shepard: An Appreciation by James Palmer
against a 1200 mile-long laser fence dubbed "El Rayo." Hired to accompany a member of a mysterious corporation called AZTECH to negotiate with a powerful crime family, Eddie enlists the help of an unstable mercenary called a Sammy. With the AZTECH rep--an AI construction built to resemble a tiki idol--Poe heads to the Carbonelli crime family camp, and learns of a treacherous doublecross.
What else can I say about Lucius Shepard? He is simply one of the finest writers in any genre working today. From fantasy to magic realism, the man has done it all, and with "Aztechs" he shows how adept he is at constructing a purely science fictional universe. He travels extensively in Mexico and South America, and shows an insight into the language and people that most people lack. This is territory previously explored by Ernest Hogan, but Shepard makes it his own, with a plot full of intense twists and turns. Cyberpunk fans will want to add this to their list of all time faves. "Aztechs" is one of the best examples of the type of fiction that Ellen Datlow has given us during her tenure as editor of SCI FICTION.
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