Monday, August 7, 2017

Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™, by Rebecca Roanhorse

★★★★☆ Recommended

(Near-Future SF) Jesse uses virtual reality to give tourists a vision-quest experience. It’s demeaning, but it pays the bills. Then a tourist turns up who wants a really authentic experience. (5,815 words; Time: 19m)

Recommended By: SFRevu+1 Nebula+2 Readers+0 Hugo+2 Sturgeon+2 Locus+2 PGuran+2

"," by (edited by Amy H. Sturgis), appeared in issue 99, published on .

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

Review: 2017.554 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The plot shows Jesse’s decline and fall very well, and it makes us feel sorry for him.

You can read a lot into this story. First, White Wolf steals everything from Jesse the same way the white man stole everything from the original Native Americans. More deeply, you can see White Wolf doing to Jesse what Jesse himself has been doing to the real Native American culture; they’re both frauds in that neither has more than an inkling of what that culture really was. Read that way, the title is bitterly ironic.

Con: It’s hard to believe he’d be fired so easily, given that everyone said he was the best. White Wolf took his wife away too easily too.

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10 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Whoa! Clever and brutal.

    He was actually on shaky ground at work from creating that Experience which no one ordered. I think the comment about everyone saying he was the best was just more manipulation on White Wolf's part. One evening with the "pretendian" was a bit quick to have his wife swooning, but it does complete his downfall.

    1. This is the sort of story I need an "Honorable Mention" category for.

  2. This story was very strong and kind of weak at the same time. Jesse did not realize he was being stalked by White Wolf.

    I agree with Laura - One evening with the "pretendian" was a bit quick to have his wife leave him.

    Also - did his wife Theresa work ? We didn't read any mention of this.

    I agree with the rating.

    1. I agree with the original rating of 3 stars, but I did think the writing was good enough for me to purchase her novel "Trail of Lightning", published by Saga Press, 2018.

  3. This story doesn't seem to know if it's an allegory or not. And while it starts out strong, the latter half is far too contrived for my tastes. Jesse's travails feel less like a genuine human experience and more like the imaginings of an author who enjoys torturing her characters for no reason.


    1. I think all authors have to learn to enjoy torturing their characters. :-)

  4. Added a star, partly based on discussions with different people, and partly because, over the months, this one has really stuck in my mind, so it absolutely passes the "memorable" test.

  5. The novel "Trail of Lightning" is very good.

    Editor - Joe Monti
    Cover Artist - Tommy Arnold

    The author had already won the Campbell, and this novel confirms she is a deserving recipient of the award.

  6. I’m unsure if this story is meant to be an allegory or straight SF. It started strong but the second half following jesse downfall feels rushed and even resembling humiliation porn 🀷‍♂️

    But the end might actually made it all work. To me it’s more likely that the whole thing is actually a simulation for the white wolf and jesse is just an NPC who is fulfilling his domination fantasy πŸ€”