Review of “Protocol” by Sean Soravia


The unnamed narrator of this story is about to be sent one month into the future on a test mission. His mission is to wait for someone to open the door, check in with the technician, then press the yellow button to return. He is never to leave the machine. No words are to be exchanged. The less he knows about the future, the better. And he is never to tell what he sees.

He’d only have to keep the secret for a month.

When he arrives, no one opens the door. What’s wrong? Is he early? Did he land in the wrong place?


This has the feel of an old-school hard science fiction tale. It is tightly told. The narrator tells the reader he has been chosen for what must be a dangerous assignment because he can keep his mouth shut. Bravery doesn’t matter, nor is there a hint of sentimentality. He does not write a last letter to his wife and children, assuming he even has a family. He simply shuts up and does as he’s told. In the few instances where he does act outside his explicit orders, it’s because he had no choice.

The narrator also doesn’t weigh ethical dilemmas. He has his orders, and he must follow protocol. Could he change anything if he’d made another choice? It’s impossible to know.

There is something unnerving about a person who consciously gives up all autonomy like this, but it is the type of thing necessary to complete such a mission.

I like this story. It is solid and good.


I could find no bio info on this author. If this is his first published story, good for him! If not, it’d be fun to read more.

The story can be read here.

Title: “Protocol”
Author: Sean Soravia
First published: Daily Science Fiction, July 6, 2020

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

4 thoughts on “Review of “Protocol” by Sean Soravia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: