Thursday, April 12, 2018

What Is Eve?, by Will McIntosh

★★★★★ Clever plot with great characters

(YA SF) Ben’s parents send him to a special camp for gifted students, but the camp rules are very strange and one of his classmates is so weird he wonders if she’s from another planet. (10,145 words; Time: 33m)

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 95, published on .

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

Pro: The best part of the story is reading how Ben befriends Eve for his own reasons, despite the ham-handed attempts by the adults to force the kids to "civilize" her. It’s also fun to watch the little mysteries get resolved. For example, the discovery that Eve is an alien even though she was born here.

Ben really is a good kid; the officials chose better than they ended up believing they had. He has to force himself to be bad, but he’s good enough to figure out that sometimes that’s what you have to do if you want to do the right thing. (Arguably that makes this a coming-of-age story, but I'll argue it's Young-Adult on the grounds that there are no competent adults anywhere in the story. Even the alien adults are unreasonable.)

Eve is in an awful situation. It’s not surprising that she’s so hostile, and it’s infuriating that the officials treated her and Adam as experimental animals. It’s touching that despite all of that she could develop enough feelings for Ben to spare the human race from the wrath of her people.

Finally, the general concept of exchanging ambassadors by transmitting genetic information and raising an alien as one of your own is very cool.

Con: It’s annoying that the evil officials get off scott-free.

If the aliens have done this a lot with other races, you’d think they’d be familiar with all the ways it could go wrong and be a bit more understanding.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Clever from beginning to end, with lots of little mysteries that actually have satisfying solutions. The answer to the question "What is Eve?" was both intriguing and plausible. The child characters were both likable and believable.


  2. Loved it, had lots of heart. Thanks for the recommendation!