Monday, March 13, 2017

Auspicium Melioris Aevi, by JY Yang

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(SF) Harry, a clone of Lee Kwan Yew, was on track to graduate until decided to start improvising. (5,313 words; Time: 17m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Clever. Makes you think.

"," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 15, published on .

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

Pro: The title of the story, “Hope for a Better Age” is ironically appropriate.

From the point where Harry starts to deviate from expectations, he earns more and more of our respect. He doesn’t simply want to take the easy path and graduate—he wants excellent, objectively superior results, and he wants them in a humane way.

His strategy of bringing 56 with him seems very clever, as even 56 himself admits. Harry has his vision for how things should be, and he’s aggressive about pursuing it. In other words, he's a leader.

However, when we see the Lee Kwan Yew quotes, we realize that Harry is very unlike him, and when the Administrator tells him he could be his successor, all we can think is that the Harry we’ve come to know is utterly unsuited for that.

In fact, he seems unsuited for this world, so it’s no surprise that he stands there gasping, and we presume he fails this one, last, critical test. And yet there’s a victory in that, because to pass that test is to be a monster. Perhaps there really is hope for a better world.

Con: The premise implies a pretty horrible future world, where people are manufactured, trained, and sold. All the clones seem pretty relaxed about it, even though 25% of them are presumably going to die rather than graduate.

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JY Yang Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. Found this blog post about the story on the author's blog:

    Enjoyed the interview with Yang in the podcast as well.

    Made me think of how grade-focused school can be. Designed to reward good test-takers with memorization skills rather than actual learning or creative thinking. Leaving people unprepared for the real world where you don't always have someone to tell you exactly what's expected of you.