Iapetus Shift by Jonas David is an innovative science fiction novella about a world where people can shape-shift by stealing people’s DNA via nanobots. Olan is falling apart due to his constant shape-shifting, and one last kill will put him together again for good. Unfortunately for Olan, it doesn’t go well, and to avoid prison he’s roped into a final job: kidnapping someone in a government facility on Mars and transporting her to Saturn’s moon, Iapetus.
Though Iapetus Shift is called a novella, it’s a sizable book, clocking in at 137 pages, so the book doesn’t feel like a fleshed out short story. David could have taken his story even further, as it does rush through some of the action, when it could use more detail, both in terms of interior dialog and backstory. There are so many interesting components here, and scene by scene the novella moves briskly along, that David could have fleshed this out to a longer work.
Those issues aside, David is a clear and imaginative writer, and Iapetus Shift is chock full of innovative ideas that are terrifying in their implications. The novella skirts around the edge of old-school cyberpunk, mixed with the older myths of shape-shifting, and even vampires, to create a fresh new vision of the future. Overall, Iapetus Shift is a fun and fast-paced read.