Saturday, April 29, 2017

Come As You Are, by Dale Bailey

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(Near-Future SF) Dave drops out of school when he gets hooked on a drug that lets you experience being other people. (10,260 words; Time: 34m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Thought-provoking and Moving

"Come As You Are," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 05-06|17, published on by .

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

Pro: We follow Dave’s journey down, and down, and down until he hits bottom. He leaves school. Loses his rich friend. Loses his barista job. His apartment. Finally he submits to having his brain copied, only to be turned out into the street.

Back in Iowa, he finds who he really is, and things look better from there. He may be an asshole, but we’ve come to care about him and wish him well.

It's worth mentioning that he's probably not a completely reliable narrator. His image of himself (which is all we see) is much better than what we get from the people around him. At the end, the two orange tabs stand as a reminder that who he really is may not be that great.

Con: This could be the story of any junkie. The SF element is tenuous.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I also thought this was a terrific story. The one thing that I would disagree with is that I don't think the SF element was tenuous: without the headspace drug, Maggie's judgement of Davy at the story's end could have been just her impression of him; instead, it's based on a view of him from the inside, one that he's denying even to himself, which makes its impact devastating.

    1. Now that's a really good point I didn't think of.