Dislocation Space by Garth Nix

Dislocation Space by Garth Nix
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Short Story (43 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A Soviet political prisoner is ordered to use her unique talents to explore a strange scientific phenomenon. It could be a trap…or a way out.

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The Soviet political prisoner who was the protagonist of this story was a fascinating person. She was only ever known as KH-112 in the prison camp, and that is how I will refer to her in my review. KH-112 had quietly suffered for years by the time the audience met her, so it came as a surprise to see how she responded to the hard labor, freezing climate, and chronic lack of food that had already killed so many before her. While she’d certainly been harmed by these experiences, I loved seeing the glimmers of resiliency in her beginning with the opening scene. They were beautiful harbingers of what was to come and made me determined to get to know this character better.

There was a plot hole involving how KH-112 was treated by her captors. In the opening scene, the narrator took great care to show all of the precautions that had been taken to keep her from killing any more of the soldiers who were running the prison camp. She was such an intelligent and resourceful person that the smallest slip-up by her enemies could give her the opportunity to fight back against them. It came as a surprise for me, then, to see how she was treated after the Soviet Union found another use for her. Her talents were obviously quite valuable to her captors, but that didn’t quite explain the shift in how they treated her given what they knew about her past.

The ending couldn’t have been written better. I’d grown attached to KH-112 and was incredibly curious to see what her government expected her to do and if her abilities would actually be of use to them. My questions were not only answered in full, they also sparked many more questions about what happened to her after the final scene. I loved finding out what her fate was and thought the author did a wonderful job of tying everything together neatly while still leaving room for the audience to imagine certain things for ourselves.

Dislocation Space was a thrilling tale that should be read by anyone who has ever felt trapped by their current circumstances.

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