The Light Brigade

by Kameron Hurley

The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back…different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief—no matter what actually happens during combat.

Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops that don’t sync up with the platoon’s. And Dietz’s bad drops tell a story of the war that’s not at all what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think is going on.

Is Dietz really experiencing the war differently, or is it combat madness? Trying to untangle memory from mission brief and survive with sanity intact, Dietz is ready to become a hero—or maybe a villain; in war it’s hard to tell the difference.

My Take

I was in the mood for futuristic so I pulled this one off the (virtual) pile. Dark with a ray of hope. Relatable, unfortunately. Complex and confusing. In the acknowledgements she refers to using a mathematical chart to make sure all the time changing elements line up. I am not going to fact check that. Similar to The Chronos Files in using time travel as an opportunity for “do overs,” though complicated here because the main character didn’t realize until later that they were time traveling. I will look for more by this author.