REVIEW: “Six Jobs” by Tim Pratt

Review of Tim Pratt, Six Jobs, Podcastle: 497 — Listen Online. Reviewed by Heather Rose Jones

My expectations for this story were turned around several times in the course of listening to it–which is perhaps more a commentary on my tendency to set up expectations that on the story. From the title, I was first expecting a listicle story–a format I’m not entirely fond of. But although the six jobs of the story did provide the overall structure of the narrative, the through-line of the plot wasn’t the usual listicle structure.

Kayla has an unusual skill: the ability to see things that others can’t, especially connections between things. This brings her to the attention of various folks who are interested in making use of those skills, and the main thrust of the story is how Kayla turns her talents not only to making a living but to making a difference in the world as she understands it. The climax of the story depends on her rather naive tendency to believe what those other people tell her about their own purposes and goals. This is where the story expectations turned a few more times–or rather, turned one fewer time than I expected.

In the end, I wasn’t sure that Kayla had learned the right lesson about being skeptical of mysterious strangers offering her jobs, and rather than being a story about challenging first impressions, it settled for being a rather simpler quest resolution. I wanted one more twist at the end that I didn’t get. A good story, but not quite surprising enough to be a great one.

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