The Sufficient Loss Protocol by Kemi Ashing-Giwa

The Sufficient Loss Protocol by Kemi Ashing-Giwa
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When an alien entity sneaks aboard a corporate spaceship, with no motive besides sabotaging the mission and murdering those aboard, commander Uzoma Ifiok launches an investigation—despite knowing that the real danger isn’t the one picking off her crew.

Who cares what happens to those pesky civilians as long as there’s money to be made, right?

Uzoma wasn’t someone I’d ever want to cross paths with, but they sure were an interesting protagonist. I was intrigued by their willingness to do anything for money, up to and including being a contract killer as mentioned in one of the earliest scenes. Their reasons for doing this sort of grisly work are best left up to other readers to figure out for themselves, but I kept trying to figure out where this person’s limits were and what might happen if they were pushed past their comfort zone. This was an excellent example of how to write an arrogant and unlikeable but also incredibly memorable character.

I did find myself wishing for more world building. Yes, there are companies in our world who get away with killing people for profit through faulty products and other such things, but the amount of murders mentioned in this short story made me wonder what on Earth – or, rather, in space – the governmental system in this setting was doing while the corporation who hired Uzoma continued to give this character orders that would lead to the deaths of countless innocent people. It would have been helpful to know whether their government was unable or unwilling to step in and how all of those deaths were explained to the general public.

Some of my favorite scenes were the ones that explored the assumptions we all make about things we’ve done a hundred times before. It’s easy to fall into a pattern and not necessarily pay attention to little things that might be different this time around. I liked the fact that Uzoma stuck to what they knew just like anyone else probably would in their shoes. As terrible as some of their life choices were, it made this character feel more human and relatable.

The Sufficient Loss Protocol was a wild ride.

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