Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Lighthouse Girl, by Bao Shu

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(Uncanny SF) Rourou is a Chinese little girl who loves her papa but wonders what happened to her momma. And why she can’t remember anything before age 5. And why she speaks fluent English. (8,166 words; Time: 27m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"," by (translated by Andy Dudak, edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 136, published on .

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

Pro: The setup is brilliant. The hints accumulate that something is very wrong, and the clone theory is a great red herring that almost makes sense, but not quite. The moment Rourou reads the jellyfish article, we realize the awful truth.

Con: And at that point, it falls apart. Actually, from the scene where Rourou says “I think deceivers deserve to die” the story jumps the shark. From there on, events and dialogue are just impossible to believe. Elle just happens to be waiting in a car when Rourou runs out of the house? The police know the whole story, but they don’t ship Rourou off to a lab to be studied, but she’s worried someone else will do it if she says anything? Yong trusts Elle with twenty million dollars even though he barely knows her?

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Elle is waiting because Rourou messaged her. She was leaving to meet her with clothes, cash, and passport when she found the lighthouse jellyfish info. But, yeah, the rest is pretty unbelievable. Congratulations, childhood friend of Jessica, you get to be her mother now! And they'll be left with the same problem when Elle grows old.

  2. This story is kind of disturbing but I still enjoyed it.

    1. Glad you liked it. That's obviously more important than any analysis.

      For me, disturbing is okay. Some of the very best stories are deeply disturbing. But they can't repeatedly break my suspension of disbelief.