“The Fear Gun” is a 2004 science fiction story by Judith Berman. It is about a town that is struggling to fight the aliens that invaded their world years ago.
Do you like dogs? How about dog stories? You’re in luck then, because this Sturgeon Award nominee (which reads more like a novel than a story) has… well, a dog in it. Man’s trusty best friend appears at the beginning of the story, and at the end too, and a whole lot of cool stuff happens between! That qualifies as a dog story… doesn’t it?
Lewisville is a town with a problem… more than one problem, actually. It seems that a few years ago when the alien ships invaded Earth, one of them crash landed in the mountains outside of town. The aliens, now known as “eetees”, didn’t all die, and they have been waging war against the residents ever since. The residents of Lewisville have done a pretty good job, however, and even though they have been cut off from the rest of the country they have managed to keep the aliens at bay, come up with a primitive type of electrical grid, and hang on to the barest threads of civilization. That’s all fine and good, but one day a new challenge shows up, literally, at their doorstep: the army. This group of quasi-sanctioned military men and women come in, take over, and commence looking for… something. The regular residents of town believe that the army wants the secret to how the aliens can create sheer terror in humans seemingly at will, but they also think that they were doing a better job before the military arrived. Thus the scene is set for a show-down between the toughened post-apocalyptic humans and the ulterior-motive-seeking military… oh, and the fear-inducing aliens too!
My Two Cents
- Story: – Although the idea of a rag-tag band of humans fighting against an alien invasion is nothing new (especially in the last few years), the story was still pretty good and there were a few surprises which threw me for a loop.
- Writing: – The writing was good enough, but nothing too special. I did find some of the language used to describe things to be a little bit juvenile. Probably not something I’d want my kids to be reading.
- Fun Factor: – Despite some of the weird things in this story I still found it to be enjoyable, and I really liked reading about all the devious battles between the town residents and aliens and military.
Where To Find The Fear Gun
- This story first appeared in the July 2004 edition of Asimov’s Science Fiction.
- You can read “The Fear Gun” online for free at the archived version of Judith Berman’s web site.
- It is also included in the Johnathan Strahan collection Best Short Novels 2005.
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you enjoyed “The Fear Gun” then you might also like “Sergeant Chip” by Bradley Denton – about a military dog who has a special ability to communicate with his handler.