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The Unnecessary Parts of the Story (Short Review)

The Unnecessary Parts of the Story is a hilariously crafted recount of the many tropes thrown into infection-based speculative fiction. In all honesty, this story could act as a textbook on what to expect when trudging through any number of novels, stories and movies that involve some kind of foreign pathogen. Castro has great comedic flair, crafting a narrative that takes us to a brilliant finish.


Adam-Troy Castro
Analog Science Fact & Fiction, September/October 2018 Issue


The Unnecessary Parts of the Story says all of the things you shout at the television screen or the book you’re trying to make it through. You want to know why the plot of said entertainment is the same as every other one? Why are the characters all the same? It’s the definition of basic, and Castro calls it all out expertly. When you think you’ve got it figured out, when the happy ending is finally on the horizon, he inserts the real motive of the story and throws a wrench at the whole bag of tricks. I love how Castro is able to play with the form, joking about it and ridiculing its absurdities while also using it to tell an engaging story.


The narrator tells it like it is, showcasing a witty inner voice and a penchant for sarcasm. The cast of characters is pulled from a ‘writer’s guide to infectious disease fiction.’ In just a few seconds, I can insert a handful of characters into each stock role, which is quite telling of Castro’s accuracy. They make all of the foolish decisions as we know they will. We tell ourselves we’d never be that illogical, but is that the actual reality?


The action takes place on a spaceship that I assume would be the Joe Schmoe of spaceships. I love Castro’s evaluation of the absurdities built into these ships as a matter of convenience for storytellers. Why is there an airtight chamber to seal the virus? Isn’t this just a mining ship? Why does the medical bay just happen to also eject into space? So many questions are left unanswered by absurd plot holes and Castro does his best to steer us toward answers.


Virus, Space Travel, Spaceship, Aliens, Infectious Diseases

Interested in more stories like The Unnecessary Parts of the Story? Read our short reviews here.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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