Sunday, April 2, 2017

Public Domain, by Scott Sigler

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(Near-Future SF) In a world where everything is recorded, Hoyt uses publicly-available online data to see if his girlfriend is cheating on him. (4,608 words; Time: 15m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Powerful, Realistic, Thought-Provoking

"Public Domain," by (edited by David Brin and Stephen W. Potts), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

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

Pro: The big emotional hit at the end is beautifully set up. Hoyt sees but ignores lots of clues that Bridget wasn’t seeing someone romantically. We know that Bridget has trouble trusting people, so once he reveals that he spied on her, it’s all going to be over. But we also know how much she meant to him—as well as how much he meant to her. Her pitiful plea, “Are we okay?” hurts just to think about. So at the end we feel both his loss and her pain. Well done.

There’s also a good bit of tension as we approach his meeting with her. We’re so sure she’s innocent, we keep hoping he’ll change his mind—even the last clue that she’s not dressed for a date raises our hopes just enough to keep the tension high.

Con: When he takes the video and makes her say “I love you,” something is so obviously wrong that it’s hard to believe she just lets that slide. Given his occupation, it’s hard to believe she doesn’t realize he’s planning to do something with it.

The plot is very simple.

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