Spoiler Free Summary: A Mission of Mercy by Mark Lynch is the fifteenth story in the Alien Days Anthology. Christopher Taylor, struggling with memories of his time as a POW, is about to investigate the most unusual crash ever. But when faced with putting a creature through treatment he’d previously faced, Taylor has to make a decision on what to do.
Character: Taylor is sympathetic and absolutely proactive. The author did a fine job of helping us understand Taylor’s motivation, which is a step up from most of the other stories in this anthology.
Exposition: This is still a big area of improvement for Lynch as well as for a lot of the other authors in this anthology. There was a lot of telling in this story. I’ll concede this exposition at least established something important, but the story dragged because I read a lot of backstory.
Worldbuilding: This story is historical fiction. There’s not a lot of world building other than scene and location.
Dialogue: The dialogue in this story was also limited (another reason the story dragged for me). What dialogue I remembered and reviewed seemed at least natural, but it was a very small aspect of the story.
Description: I think the reader gets what he needs, but even I didn’t get as much as I wanted. There was attention spent on sight, but little other senses, so the story lacked a visceral quality for me.
Overall: A readers opinion on this story is going to depend entirely on what they think of the ending. I didn’t like it, but I did understand it. I would have preferred a different decision for the same motivation. The story wasn’t bad, but it did drag a lot. Taylor makes the story worth checking out if you like character studies. People who both understand and like the ending will think much more highly of it.
Thanks for reading