Prosper’s Demon

Tor.com. Jan. 2020. 104p. ISBN 9781250260512. pap. $11.99.
An unnamed and morally ambiguous narrator begins this eerie and darkly humorous novella by explaining his prowess as an exorcist. Providing multiple, successful exorcisms a week, he does not care if the human client lives or dies. His job is to banish the demon from their bodies, no matter the cost or the mess. Elsewhere in this medieval world, life is harsh, dark, and violent, but Prosper of Schanz, one of the era’s greatest thinkers, knows that science can be the antidote. To prove his point, he will raise the baby Prince to be a pure and perfect example of humanity. And while Prosper may not believe in demons, our narrator knows that both he and the baby are possessed. Readers will be surprised by how much fun they have while reading such an unsettling story and how they will continue to ponder the themes and their implications in our modern world.
VERDICT With a fresh take on the well-trod demonic possession trope, solid worldbuilding, high-court politics, and an engaging narrator, this short tale will draw in fans of dark speculative fiction, especially admirers of Martha Wells and Grady Hendrix.
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