Review of Gregg Cunningham’s Short Story “War Pig”

terraform moon

Image found at NASA Spaceflight.com forums

“War Pig” was written by Gregg Cunningham, a fellow contributor to the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four(2019). After reviewing Neal Asher’s Monitor Logan and Sam Phillips’ Cold Fusion, I thought I’d round things out with Cunningham’s story.

It does have to do with the fourth world war and an interplanetary battleship called a “war hog,” only this “hog” is also capable of time travel, which makes things kind of confusing.

We start out with our protagonist and a (more or less) sapient robot named a “Floyd” on the surface of a terraformed Moon thirty years into the war. The war hog has been destroyed and it looks like Commander Redux (although the highest rank he can ever remember is Sergeant) is just trying to survive. Then, through (apparently) a series of flashbacks, we see how Redux got into this mess in the first place, especially when a younger version of himself is put on trial by an older counterpart, and then the older Redux sacrifices his life so that the younger self can steal the war hog at an earlier point in history and try to fix whatever he got wrong.

I must admit, it was difficult to follow all of the time shifts and versions of his Floyd companion, though it’s an intriguing concept and the writing’s quite good.

The story doesn’t have a definitive resolution, but given how Redux seems to be bouncing back and forth Billy Pilgrim-like across time, maybe that’s the point.

The thought of terraforming the Moon is interesting and it makes me wonder if Cunningham did any “worldbuilding” research about the (fictional) feasibility. This seems to me to be a nice introduction into a much larger world, and I hope the author decides to write other tales in this universe, maybe even a novel or two.

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9 thoughts on “Review of Gregg Cunningham’s Short Story “War Pig”

  1. confusion reigns!
    i think you pretty much nailed it mate.
    This was the most confusing thing i’ve wrote.
    I am pondering the idea now of continuing the tale in a more linear time line.
    thanks for taking time out to read james.
    go have a lie down and take 2 aspirins.

    Like

    • i was trying to incorporate a reason to want to mine the moon. Who would benefit.
      Perhaps a rare silicon with abilities to further future technologies ?
      With a limited word count it was hard, so i had to just say ‘there it’s done – accept it’
      And it was closer to terra form than mars.
      7000words is not a lot to form a solid background with a middle and a twisty end.
      But it was good fun to try.
      i Think i’ll do ABC warriors in space doing menial tasks like planting trees (silent running) next time.
      🤣

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to do it. As you mentioned to Aak, 7,000 words isn’t a lot in which to develop a universe, which is why I hope you’ll expand the story at some point or write other tales about that world, including terraforming the Moon.

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