REVIEW: Stories from Daily Science Fiction, September 25-29, 2017

Reviews of stories published in Daily Science Fiction from September 25 through 29, 2017. Reviewed by Caitlin Levine.

“Your Life Unfolds, and Then–” by Barbara A. Barnett, Sept 25, 2017: Read Online.

My favorite story from this week! Check out the full review here.

“A Cost-Effective Analysis for the De-Extinction of the Woolly Mammoth” by Ronald D Ferguson, Sept 26, 2017: Read Online.

Ferguson gives us the dialogue from a short lecture on the costs of bringing back an extinct species, with a humorous ending. This is one of those stories that seems mostly a set-up for the twist at the end, but it is short enough to work well.

“Progress” by John Nadas, Sept 27, 2017: Read Online.

Nadas looks at a world where “units” – which sound a lot like humans – are being created as manual labor in a society of “superior” creatures – which could possibly be robots. The dialogue reads clearly as one side of an interview with a biologist who champions the use of these units, using arguments reminiscent of those favoring robots and AIs. I’m ambivalent about this story: it made me think without providing easy answers or resolutions, but I found it somewhat bland.

“When He Saw Her” by Cory Josiah Easley, Sept 28, 2017: Read Online.

Easley describes a typical romance between a boy and a girl, with a twist: They both live in a society where heterosexual relationships are treated with the disdain and discrimination society often deals to homosexual couples.

I thought this story had a lot of potential for complicated critical thinking that didn’t get fully explored. But it seems to me a great tool for those struggling to overcome their own prejudices: an inside look at these experiences using characters that resonate with a straight reader.

“Astronauts Can’t Touch You” by Carlie St. George, Sept 29, 2017: Read Online.

A well-written, engaging look at the personal nature of grief and its relation to emotional distance. St. George evokes strong emotions that will be recognizable to anyone who has lost a loved one. In a word: tragic. The metaphor of astronauts is played against the story’s plot of an alien attack. I liked how this story explored the complex ravages of grief through metaphor, but I found it unrelentingly, devastatingly sad.

REVIEW: “Your Life Unfolds, and Then–” by Barbara A. Barnett

Review of Barbara A. Barnett, “Your Life Unfolds, and Then—”, Daily Science Fiction, Sept 25, 2017: Read Online. Reviewed by Caitlin Levine.

I’m always fascinated by the seeming of consciousness. A good story brings the characters to life, but there’s something special about characters who interact with the writer or reader. In “Your Life Unfolds, and Then—,” we watch the narrator create a character as the story progresses, one aware – if not accepting – of their creation. And of course the narrator is not unaware of the parameters of their own “existence.” Barnett layers this tale with many questions about reality, awareness, and creation.

This is my favorite story from this week because of the interactions between the layers of participants – the character, the narrator, Barnett, and us readers.
The narrator’s sometimes creepy tone highlights the character’s frustration with not having control over their own life and contrasts it with the exuberant feeling of being the protagonist. If you are a fan of the movie “Schenectady, New York” or Tailsteak’s comic “1/0,” you’ll like this.