War Tourism In A Flying Bus

The latest issue of Helix Speculative Fiction just went online, and it includes a few great science fiction stories, including the alternate-universe romance "The Einstein-Rosen Hunter-Gatherer Society" by George S. Walker. But probably the best piece this time around is Clifford W. Dunbar's "Holiday In Hot Zone 16," a brutal satire that targets our easy-chair consumption of horrors around the globe. Click through for details, and then head over to Helix to check it out.

Image from Randa Mirza.

In "Holiiday In Hot Zone 16," a group of tourists fly over a battle between warlords in the U.N. designated hotzone of "Lower Hazmatistan." (And yes, it's a broad satire, as well as a vicious one.) The tourbus includes a couple on honeymoon, a family with small kids, an older couple... and the tourbus driver, who has a shady business on the side. Safe in their shielded bus, 50 feet above the ground, they watch the Donites and the Khaffis slaughter each other with primitive AK-47s and big knives. When the mass murder is over, that's when things get really nasty. Here's a sample passage:

He was cut down in a burst of gunfire before he could raise [his rifle.] The bullets slammed him backwards into the campfire, where his blood sizzled and his clothes and hair burst into flames. He was dead before he could scream.

"Oh, how delightful!" a woman exclaimed. Gus glanced up at his mirror again with another satisfied smile. The lady was peering out the window with a tiny pair of opera glasses.

It's pretty twisted stuff. Check it out. And donate to the writers if you like it. [Helix Speculative Fiction]