Friday, June 3, 2016

Fifty Shades of Grays, by Steven Barnes

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(SF) The end of the world starts when an ambitious marketing guy gets a cryptic assignment to create an ad campaign to "make ugly sexy." (11,319 words; Time: 37m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Recommended
Recommended By: GDozois:5 RHorton:5

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 73, published on .

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

Pro: The end of the world comes because people lost interest in sex with one another in favor of sex with repulsive aliens, and because they accepted technology that let them live long, healthy lives in exchange for being subject to manipulation. By the end, even the hero has come to terms with it.

Con: The execution scene is awkward. Also, in practical terms, you'd expect there to be some people who were resistant and who passed that resistance on to their children.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 73)
Steven Barnes Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Amazing story. Inspirations (and/or reference stories:
    *Pat Cadigan’s “Roadside Rescue”
    *James Tiptree’s “And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side.“ Which is the classic for this micro-genre.

    Thanks for the reco! And all the work to keep up with short SF.

  2. I hadn't read Roadside Rescue before, but it was very well done. Thanks for pointing me to it.

    I thought I had read all of Tiptree, but And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side was new to me.

    I suppose the subgenre is "sex with aliens." Or even "sex with aliens as a metaphor for abusive human relationships."

    The Tiptree story has an uncomfortable measure of xenophobia in it--given the current political situation, perhaps it's a timely read. Thanks again.

  3. Thanks for the story suggestions and links!