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Short story – “Salvador” by Lucius Shepard

“Salvador” by Lucius Shepard was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1984. I read it in the collection The Legend Book of Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois and published in 1991.

Brilliant. Lucius Shepard can write short stories, in case this wasn’t obvious, and is probably one of the best science fiction short story writers out there. This is the story of a US soldier in Salvador who takes drugs to improve his killing ability. Many strange things happen to him.

Shepard has shown me in this one story some of the techniques of increasing the readers investment in and sympathy for a character. The characterization is great, and this is a story I will go back to for pointers on how to do it. I will be looking for more Lucius Shepard short stories, and perhaps even his novels. I have read a few over the years but not enough, and many of them are worth a re-visit.

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