Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Two-Year Man, by Kelly Robson

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Mikkel isn't very bright, but he cleverly supplements his janitorial job by scavenging useful items his superiors discard and bringing them home to his wife--then one day he brings home a mutant baby. (6,000 words; Time: 20m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Award-Worthy
Recommended By: LTilton

"," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 08|15, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

There seems to be a richly detailed world behind this story--where the number of years of service you put into the conflict on the colony worlds somehow determines your caste when you get back. (Are there any zero-year guys?) Horrible as the "baby" is, we really do feel Mikkel's love for it.

The "what-if" of the story subsumes the hard-to-believe bits (i.e. that a mutant baby with a beak is even possible). This works so well that it doesn't even bother us on rereading. And the emotional punch is strong. Not just because we feel Mikkel's pain but because we see through his naive eyes the sort of pain that everyone else is in as well.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. This is worth reading. It is a strong story.

    The author is eligible to be nominated for a Campbell award as she is 1st published this year.

  2. This is an example of a story that forced me to change my rating system. I knew as soon as I finished it that it was a 5, but the system I had then would have given it a 2.

    It certainly does haunt you, doesn't it?