Monday, December 5, 2016

A Future Far Too Bright, by Yosef Lindell

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(Near-Future SF) Jesse Is just in the third grade, but his dad sends him letters telling him about the time-machine experiment he's working on. (5,261 words; Time: 17m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Heartwarming, moving, and not quite what you expect

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 123, published on .

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

Pro: This is the story of how Jesse grew up enough to accept his father for what he really was, and to forgive him for it.

When Jesse decides he's going to visit his dad, it brings tears to our eyes for several reasons. First, because it tells us that Jesse has let go of the anger in his own heart. Second, because we've come to like his dad (he is a science fiction writer of sorts).

The story leaves a long trail of clues as to where Jesse's father really is--that his "time machine" is a 30-year prison term. When that becomes clear, the realization is shattering because suddenly everything comes together.

Con: The relationship with Julia May ends awkwardly. Her family's departure for Mars is the only thing that makes this story science fiction, but it feels tacked on. Otherwise the story is pretty clearly set in our world, not the future.

Jesse is way too mature and articulate for an eleven-year-old.

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