Monday, October 12, 2015

Meshed, Rich Larson

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In near-future Seattle, a basketball scout finds an unusually talented high school senior, but there's one catch. This story is uplifting and painful all at once. (4,344 words; Time: 14m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Award-Worthy
Recommended By: GDozois:5 NClarke LTilton

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 101, published on .

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

This is about Oxford becoming a man and making his own decisions. Oxford really loves his dad and looks up to him, so this is hard for him. It's hard for his dad to let go. The basketball match between them is symbolic of Oxford's dad not really believing that his son could be independent of him. The key point in the story is when Oxford gets over his shock and starts trying to win. That tells us that he really wants the mesh and that he wants to make his own decisions--even if it does hurt his dad.

Choosing the agent as narrator let's us see both the man and the boy objectively, and the author does an excellent job of showing us what they really are. The agent does try to manipulate Oxford, but his enthusiasm for the nervecasts is clearly real.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 101)
Rich Larson Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

7 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I would suggest Edited (Interzone 259) as being a better story by Larson this year (not that this one is bad in any way). It got a rec from Dozois:

  2. This is a very good story but I suspect the reader needs an appreciation of basketball to love it.

    The author is good enough that the above Interzone recommendation is worth following up on. Available on Kobo.

    1. Ironically, I hate basketball. I loved the story despite that. :-) But Mark is right--"Edited" is even stronger.

  3. I rate it a 4, recommended. It was a well-written story, particularly for basketball fans (Giannis Antetokounmpo aka the "Greek Freak" currently plays for the Milwaukee Bucks). However, the SF element is minor and probably could have been replaced by something like joining a Japanese-owned basketball team two generations after WWII where his grandfather survived the Bataan Death March, for example.

  4. Story is good and I say it’s above average but it’s not THAT good, sci-fi element is introduced and implemented well but nothing that I think is groundbreaking or hasn’t been done too often. It’s the good ol argument of technology vs being human and enhanced vs being controlled, and the standard dark side of technology. Regardless overall it’s still a good story πŸ‘πŸΌ

    1. It all comes down to what you want from a good story. That said, it's possible I overrated this one. It was one of the stories I rated during the first year we were doing RSR, and I had to read 12 months-worth of stories in just four or five months--while figuring out how I wanted the rating system to really work.

      That said, I never gave huge emphasis to "originality" or "new ideas." There's very little of that to be had. I was more interested in whether stories were entertaining, well-written, and moving. This one moved me, and that may have led to me overrating it. I later learned to curb my tendency to get carried away. :-)