Nancy Fulda’s “Backlash” is a non-stop sci-fi action/thriller novelette about a former war hero caught in the crossfire of averting a disaster that could change the course of time. Eugene Gutierez returned from an assignment in South America that left him with the scars of war, but in his retirement, a meal with his daughter and her boyfriend takes an odd turn. When he opens up a strange fortune cookie, he realizes that someone was trying to target him. He first believes it to be a cruel joke, until after the meal when he’s nearly shot. A woman named Chen-chi joins him, claiming to be from the future and averting a disaster that could destroy the world. From there, Eugene and Chen-chi team up to fight against a mysterious terrorist group that includes more intimate ties that Eugene thought possible.
I thought this was a solid, entertaining short story, though I’ll admit towards the end, it felt a bit rushed in the resolution. Up until about 85% of this story, I was hooked from the beginning. I liked the fluid prose, the structure of the conflict, the intrigue of Eugene’s failed activation and the militant groups. I thought, however, the issue regarding Eugene’s daughter was far too quickly resolved, especially considering her role in the collective conflict and the relationship between her and the member of the group. The main villain seemed taken down far too easily, and I didn’t really get a chance to know his motives. Still, for a 31 page story, this was very well written, and I would be remiss if I said that I didn’t enjoy it for what it had to offer. I would definitely read more from this author in the future.