Saturday, November 21, 2015

Paul and His Son, by Joe M. McDermott

Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, April/May 2015; ~5,700 words
Rating: 3, Good, ordinary, story  Recommended By:  Locus

In a near-future NYC, 14-year-old Paul Jr. keeps running away from home, and Paul Sr. is willing to go to great lengths to stop him.

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

Pro: The parallel between Paul Jr. and Noah helps make this story interesting. Both escape surveillance. Both have problems that will be "solved" when they get a little older. And Paul Sr. sees their problems in terms of the drugs they ought to be taking.

It's quite shocking that Paul Sr. is willing to put a tracking chip in his kid and that he's willing to lock him in his bedroom. It's pleasing that he gradually realizes this is hopeless, and that even after he gets hold of the Adderall he realizes he has no way to make his son take it. Perhaps we imagine it, but it seems that Paul Jr. reacts to the removal of the door lock by being a little more responsible, so there's a somewhat hopeful end here.

Con: Paul Sr.'s behavior toward his son seems a little too over-the-top. Locking your kid in his bedroom doesn't seem like something you could get away with in the world the story describes.

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