Saturday, February 14, 2015
Rats! (e-short story) by Brett James
I'm not including any read-alikes for this one.
My Nook Simple Touch said this was 23 pages long. It was actually 9 pages – everything after that was a sample from Brett James' The Drift Wars, which I opted not to read. I do not appreciate it when a large percentage of an e-book file is really an advertisement for something else, although at least my records tell me Rats! was one of my freebie downloads.
Rats! follows Jama'al, an exterminator from a long line of exterminators, as he participates in a hunt that could make or break his company. Twenty years ago, wild rats interbred with genetically modified super rats, resulting in enormous, intelligent, and deadly rodents that forced people to rethink food storage and distribution. Food is now delivered in armored cars. FOODex Direct's Staten Island storage facility is one of the largest food repositories in the world, and Jama'al's company oversees their pest control. The facility's latest infestation has taken out three of Jama'al's exterminators, so he has to suit up and go in himself.
This story would probably make a good scene in an action movie, but it's all explosions and no brains. I'm familiar with rats. Although I've never had to deal with an infestation, thank goodness, I've read a lot about them, I've owned pet rats, and I spent several months researching rodent control. I found it difficult to believe that the lab researchers from 20 years in Jama'al's past were so stupid as to cage their genetically modified rats in ways that allowed wild rats to get to them. Also, I'm pretty sure those genetically modified rats would have killed any of the wild rats that entered their territory.
In Jama'al's time, it's apparently no longer a rule that, if you see one rat, there are probably many other rats you can't see. The three he was hunting were it, and going after them with a rifle and some explosives was not considered wasteful and ludicrous overkill. Even though he destroyed tens of thousands of dollars worth of food.
If Michael Bay wrote a story about rodent control, the result would probably be something like this. Although maybe the big, infodumpy section explaining how the world got to be this way would be slightly shorter, to make room for more explosions and man vs. rat battles.