Thursday, October 5, 2017

Krace Is Not a Highway, by Scott Vanyur

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(Post Apocalypse) HiQIRR was built to rate national highways and report problems, but no one listens anymore. Only Krace, and he wants HiQIRR to look for other surviving humans. (1,018 words; Time: 03m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Short, Sweet, and Effective

"," by (edited by Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde), appeared in issue 10/02/17, published on .

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

Pro: The unreliable-narrator technique works beautifully here. Much better, for example, than telling us that Krace broke down and cried at the end. Krace's treatment of the robot as a little child has some believability issues (see below) but it does work to support the impression of HiQIRR as an honest but very naive observer who tells profound truths without realizing it.

The story is very short, but rich with details. HiQIRR can't "handshake" with the federal computers because a) they're not there anymore and b) Krace is afraid of drawing the wrong kind of attention.

Con: The idea that Krace was able to reprogram the robot by treating it like a person and teaching it English is painfully bad. Things like "Be brave for Krace," are simply silly.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 10/02/17)
Scott Vanyur Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Very cool choice of POV. It was my impression that Krace actually hacked HiQIRR, instead of just talking to it.

    1. I know, but he hacked it by talking to it. It was the only really weak point in the story, I think.

    2. I thought he chatted while programming and making physical repairs. It struck me that he had prior knowledge of the rovers -- former FHWA tech?