Review of Nick Mamatas, “A Night Out at a Nice Place”, Apex Magazine 104: Read Online. Reviewed by Joanna Z. Weston.
An incorporeal intelligence embodies itself for fun (“downlowing into a limbsuit”), and then goes on a blind date with a human being. Fortunately, human beings are space faring at this point, so they do have something to talk about. Mostly, this is a far-future, philosophical dialogue about the nature of reality. It’s short, sharp, and surprisingly light, given the density of the subject matter.
I don’t think I was the ideal audience for this story. Either it was written for somebody much smarter than I am, and it went over my head, or else it was going for a sort of humor that just didn’t hit my personal funny bone. Maybe both. The futuristic slang and mathematical equations made it hard to understand at times and the narrator was a little too alien and superior for my taste (they joked about. destroying the star they were orbiting and wiping out the whole planet after their date made a tedious joke, and refrained because they liked her smile).
All that being said, the ending made me smirk, and I think that the narrator is supposed to be irritating – by the end, it’s clear that they are not as superior to humans as they think they are. The story is short enough that it’s definitely worth checking out, to see if it is to your liking.