RA-K4 by D.H. Lamb is a short story with promise. So why only three stars? Keep in mind that I am not entirely sure I am the best judge of a short story. I am used to reading novels with a lot more depth. Also, the author appears to be young. With more experience, I have no doubt their writing will grow.
RA-K4 is about the adventure of a cyborg. It begins with him being controlled and sent on a mission to retrieve a package. When he encounters the person who holds the package, a fight ensues. The cyborg’s control mechanism is destroyed in the process. The cyborg is now a man awakened. But he has no idea who he is or anything about the world he lives in. Fortunately, the person he attacked has some sympathy for him. This man, Isaac, is on an important quest to deliver this package. And he could use an ex-cyborg to help him.
The story is set in a very interesting post-apocalyptic world where the oceans are gone and occupied by salt flats instead. It is mentioned that it’s flat and hot, but not much else. As with other things in this story, it could use more depth. I’d like to “see”, “feel”, and “smell” more of what this world is like.
I really love the idea of a cyborg that is suddenly free of his constraints. There is so much promise in his “awakening”. Instead of being controlled, he now has free will. Yet he doesn’t know what to do with that free will. It’s an exciting concept. However, the awaking of this character is rather flat. He questions who he is and considers his options, but mostly he just goes with the flow in a nonchalant kind of way.
Isaac has a little more depth, but not much. The multiple decisions he makes, which are the ones that lead this adventure, are not very well explained. He, too, just seems to move forward in an easy manner.
The adventure is action-packed. It moves quickly from scene to scene and in a way that makes me want to keep reading. But because it is a short story, the urgency of the characters is not felt. It is explained, but not in a way that immerses me in their world and in their drama. I’m swept away, but I’m not feeling their struggle. I’m excited, but I’m not ever worried or frightened. The adventure was just too easy for me to ever be concerned.
Overall, this story doesn’t have much depth. But it is a short story and is presented as such. The author has great potential and is worth following. I’m interested in seeing this author grow as a writer. If you’re reading this, Lamb, I’d love to see you expand on this story in a way that immerses me with all five of my senses and with more emotional involvement. And I’d like the adventure to be more harrowing. This includes the quest as well as the cyborg’s struggle with his awaking.