Review: Second Suicide by Hugh Howey

Being able to see something from someone else's point of view shouldn’t be all that extraordinary of a skill. It is one thing that makes us human. And yet few of us seem to do it. We decide someone is the enemy and then we don't have to think about them anymore. They are just bad.


"Second Suicide" by Hugh Howey doesn't allow you to do that. It takes one of the more common stories in science fiction that of an alien invasion and turns it on its head by telling it from the point of view of the aliens. Not by making them the good guys, or having humans being the ones who are invading, but by showing the life of a soldier from their point of view.


The second suicide in the title of this story refers to a character barely in the story. The aliens use a technology to backup the minds of their soldiers, but charge massive amounts of money if you commit suicide, or die in a way that isn't considered heroic. In fact, the average alien is in debt slavery, not fighting out of bloodlust or hatred but because they have no real choice.


I won't spoil the end of the story since it is worth reading, but the mystery of why the alien has committed suicide several times is an interesting one that puts the entire story into a new light and once again turns the alien invasion on its head.


Elton GahrComment