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2016 Story 17

Today's story comes from the Nov-Dec 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction:

17. THE THIRTEEN MERCIES by Maria Dhavana Headley.  Headley's latest is one of the most multi-layered stories I can remember reading. The author peels those layers away one small segment at a time, revealing not only deepening levels of the physical reality the main character finds himself in, but also of the character himself. Our unnamed narrator is one of a special squad of soldiers trained and dispatched to employ the Thirteen Mercies against the enemy; the mission fails, the public learns of it and demands justice. The squad is quarantined/exiled to a mysterious island in what seems a farcical punishment, at first. Then the layers of the punishment begin to reveal themselves; nothing is what it seems (neither in the quarantine zone nor in the characters' minds and histories).  The revelation of what the Thirteen Mercies are and how they work is brilliantly woven into the story, making it even darker.

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