Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Snowbird, by Joe M. McDermott

(near-future SF) Mary Margret gets suspicious when one of the solar-powered, self-driving SUVs popular with retired people parks itself at her dad's New Mexico ranch and just sits there. Entertaining. (5,861 words)

Rating: 3, Good, ordinary, story

"Snowbird," by appeared in the March 2016 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Facts, published , by .

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

Pro: We're pretty sure there's a dead person inside, but the story does a nice job of building the suspense. There's suspense from worrying about "emergent" AIs as well. By the end, just about everything is explained.

The parallel with freeing Mark's cougar and "freeing" the abandoned SUVs is thought-provoking. The cougar will almost certainly die in the wild, since it never learned how to fend for itself, and one doesn't really hold out much hope for the SUVs either. The author makes it clear that it's a flaw in Mary Margret's character that she has to set things free, and yet we love her for it.

Con: The story progresses in simple, linear fashion. There are no aha moments nor any deeply emotional ones.

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