Friday, June 2, 2017

My Dear, Like the Sky and Stars and Sun, by Julia K. Patt

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(Near-Future SF) Elspeth offers body mods from traditional tattoos all the way to high-tech things with active programming. A mystery girl with special requests turns her world upside down. (7,718 words; Time: 25m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 129, published on .

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

Pro: Elspeth becomes obsessed with Mari and wants to help her. That’s the core plot, although it’s gradually clear that Elspeth is lonely and wants company—even if not sexual company. Mari has her own objective, and there are plenty of hints that her father didn’t merely neglect her—he abused her. All these issues are neatly tied up by the end.

The range of body mods is interesting, particularly the ones to let you record what’s happening to you.

Elspeth is interesting in her own right, as a sort of low-key rebel in a world that’s a little too controlling.

Con: The ending breaks disbelief in several ways. First, the author doesn’t seem to understand how patents work. As an employee of the company, Mari's mother couldn't have assigned a patent to Mari; anything she patented would have belonged to the company.

Beyond patents, the idea that the police would arrest someone solely on the basis of images (not photographs) generated by his daughter’s software is absurd. If they were going to arrest anyone, they’d arrest her for assaulting him.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. There were some interesting ideas in there, particularly the rebellious body modders vs corps element, but the actual story didn't rise above "okay" for me.

  2. Yup, definitely some interesting tech ideas. But the ending was rather silly.

  3. Author's story notes reveal that it's somewhat inspired by the fairy tale "Donkeyskin."

    1. It's a fairly thin connection, although now that I know it's there I can see it. Maybe the story would have worked better for me if told from the daughter's POV.