Monday, January 15, 2018

The Streets of Babel, by Adam-Troy Castro

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(Allegory) A man in the countryside is scooped up by one of the “living cities” which immediately impresses him into its workforce. (6,700 words; Time: 22m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 92, published on .

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

Pro: It makes its message rather clear: that people from the countryside often find city life hellish (and that modern urban life does often look like something no sane person would submit to). It reaches a natural conclusion when it comes full circle at the end.

“He was not made for life in a big city” is such an understated summary of what happened that it’s pretty funny.

Con: The message is obvious just a page or two into the story. After that it’s a long, tedious slog to get to the end of it, although it is nice to see him go free.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I agree with the long slog, and was hoping for a pay off over the cities motives, if it was trying to produce what a happy life was meant to be, or if the people formed a necessary part of its machinery.
    It did sadly become clear towards the end that wasn't going to happen as it got in the way of the allegory.

  2. I'm afraid this follows the pattern of quite a few of Castro's stories. Take an idea, push it to the extreme, and then keep going long after the point is made.

    1. His conventional stuff is great, but he likes to experiment. Sometimes his experiments don't work. I always look forward to his work, though; even the failed experiments usually have hilarious bits and pieces in them.

    2. I usually like his co-authored stories better, but I'll keep trying his solo work too.