Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Equationist, by J.D. Moyer

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(Math Fantasy) Niall had a powerful gift for math, starting as a child. So powerful he can identify people with equations and predict their futures. (5,961 words; Time: 19m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ A Calculated Pleasure

"The Equationist," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 01-02|18, published on by .

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

Pro: : This story is a nice example of how to make the third-person omniscient point of view work, complete with chatty, opinionated narrator. Much of the fun of the story is the oddball comments from the narrator, such as when he solemnly informs us that Niall would ask his father for two things: “a modest loan for reconstructive dental work, and some advice on how to radically change his life.”

In terms of plot, Niall wants to use his personal equation to find happiness, but it keeps eluding him right up to the end, when he meets Emily again. His equation is linear again, for the second time in his life, which is what it does when he changes someone else’s equation, only this time he’s going to try to change the world. From the brutish direction of the line, we gather he doesn’t have a lot of time left to do it in.

The other characters, his friend Andrew, his mom and dad, Emily, etc. are sketched out well enough for us to like them and to see what Andrew sees in them. It’s a little harder to see what anyone sees in Andrew himself, weird as he is. (E.g. his eulogy for his father.)

Con: I felt like there should have been a big emotional payoff at the end, but there really wasn’t.

Niall’s ability to simply make piles of money whenever he needs it is a little hard to believe.

The basic idea of mapping people to equations is a rather silly one.

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J.D. Moyer Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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