Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Edge of Things, by Katharine E.K. Duckett

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(Alternate Reality) The narrator wakes up every day to an endless party in an infinite house that seems to have replaced the whole world. She’d like to get out, but she can’t even remember her own name. (6,585 words; Time: 21m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"The Edge of Things," by (edited by Jason Sizemore), appeared in issue 103, published on .

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

Pro: The clue that this is virtual reality comes when she sees Don Quixote, and then chats with Dorian Grey, who tells her his life was ruined by art, not books, and that he’s “a bit of a cautionary tale.” I suspect everyone she meets is from literature, although I couldn’t identify everyone. I definitely saw characters from “A Clockwork Orange,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Catch-22,” “Moby Dick,” and “A Wrinkle in Time.”

By writing her own message into these characters (written in her own blood) she’s able to signal the people running the simulation to shut it down and take her back.

It’s possible that there’s a message here that authors can’t be bound by the literary canon and must break free by creating their own messages, even if they’re built upon works that went before.

Con: Not much is done with the characters from the books. This Yossarian is very different from the hopeless character in “Catch-22.” The narrator comes across as pretty weak too. And we never get a good idea of what this simulation was supposed to accomplish.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 103)
Katharine E.K. Duckett Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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