Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Capitalism In The 22nd Century Or A.I.r., by Geoff Ryman


GraΓ§a and Cristina want to leave Brazil and go settle on another planet, but it's expensive, physically challenging, and illegal. (5,600 words; Time: 18m)

Recommended By: πŸ“™₁GDozois+2 πŸ“™₁JStrahan+2 πŸ“™₁NClarke+2 πŸ“™₁RHorton+2 (Q&A)

"Capitalism In The 22nd Century Or A.I.r.," by (edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

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

Review: 2015.104 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The story is Christina's tale: "Why I Did it." As we gradually learn, Christina and her sister were supposed to take a flight to another star system, but Christina backed out at the last minute. Her desire to be free was so strong she didn't care about the consequences.

Con: The story doesn't prepare us for this. We don't see anything in the interactions between the two sisters that might clue us in that Christina hated this so much. There's a lot of descriptive material in the story that appears to amount to nothing. The AIs are running the world. Or maybe the Chinese are. But nothing is done with either idea.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I'd rate it a 2, not recommended. I read it because it made it into the four "year's best SF" anthologies, found it a somewhat confusing read, then I re-read it in case I missed some key element that would make me see what the anthologists saw, but no dice.

    I agree with the mini-review that nothing we saw in the sisters' relationship prepared us for the ending. The plot is minimal, so that leaves the setting as perhaps the main attraction of the story. I suppose the mutual dependency between humans and AI is interesting (AIs entertain/mentally assist humans, humans serve as hands for AIs). The Chinese in the future have the "global imperialist" role that the Americans and British had in the past, which is bad because the illegal emigrants hope to travel to a place with no Chinese. For some reason, that bugs me more than if the author replaced Chinese with Indians or Canadians. :-)

  2. This was garbage. I read or tried to read this in an antgology book and it was toughvto follow

  3. I agree with the 3-star rating. It is a decent read but not amazing. When it came out it was very highly recommended in some places. Took me a while to get access to this story and read it.

    1. Usually I can see what other people loved about a story, even if I didn't care for it, but this one continues to puzzle me. I hope it's not that they thought it was a realistic vision of the future!