I haven’t done a review in a while due to time constraints, but when Christopher Ruz asked me to take a look at his new novella, The Eighteen Revenges of Doctor Milan, I figured I could make time for a quick one. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed, as Ruz utilizes his signature dark, excellent quality writing to deliver a sharp science fiction adventure.
Despite the title being reminiscent of a comic book along the lines of 80’s-era Iron Fist, Milan takes place on a prison planet in the far future, where a man named Cezar has gotten himself thrown in jail for the express purpose of killing the warden. Now, this might strike some as a rather poor plan, but Cezar has an advantage: the titular Doctor has artificially augmented his mind and body. Soon, complications arise involving a monster said to inhabit the mine upon which the prison sits, as well as revelations that Cezar and the warden may be locked in a never-ending karmic cycle of battle and death–heavy stuff, in other words.
As usual, the real star here is Ruz’s prose style, which puts to shame almost any author I’ve come across, traditionally published or not. While some of the characters aren’t quite as fleshed-out as in Ruz’s other work, the tight plot and well-paced action more than make up for that, and at novella length this is a great pick for sci-fi fans who like to absorb a story in only a few sittings.
Rating: Four microwave-cooked intestines (yum) out of five.