THE CHILDREN’S WAR BY C. P. BOYKO
C. P. Boyko proves the broad reach of his talents in The Children’s War, a collection of six stories that range from novella to play to traditional short-story. His characters here are often intelligent and emotional, resulting in explosive conflicts; whether the setting be an oppressive school, an ever-busy factory, or the frontlines of a war between the armies on an unnamed island and its interfering super-power neighbor. From the thoughts of a sleep-deprived Army doctor, comes her gruesome play-by-play of that day’s casualties—or was it yesterday’s? She can’t quite remember. Meanwhile, bullets twang and whistle like snapped cables over the head of an ambulance driver who cons and lies his way into a war he cares nothing about. In “The Takeover of Founders’ Hall,” students bear witness in a journalistic fashion to their march and occupation of the university president’s office.
Tackling the theme of power and the struggle for authority, Boyko’s characters fight against superiors real or imagined, as in the case of Lord Admiral Whiskers The Most High, the feline king over a land of talking cats. Though the choices these characters make are not always effective, it is clear that Boyko understands this truth: action is always human and, even in failure, is often beautiful.
—Review by Lucas Palmer