Thursday, May 3, 2018

Fifteen Minutes Hate, by Rich Larson

★★★☆☆ Average

(Near-Future SF) Savina wakes up to find herself the subject of a massive online attack. (1,388 words; Time: 04m)

"Fifteen Minutes Hate," by (edited by Jason Sizemore), appeared in issue 108, published on .

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

Pro: It expresses the absurdity of online overreactions. Yes, the protagonist did something bad (cutting off the tip of the cat's tail and threatening to send it to her ex in pieces), but the essence of overreactions is that there's always something real at the core of it.

Con: Except for the cilia on the phone, there’s nothing speculative at all in this story.

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Am I weird in thinking this would have been much more effective if she had done something either much less or more serious? As is, while being strongly opposed to this sort of thing in actuality, a little public hating sounds almost aesthetically correct.

    I do think there is a speculative element in that this is portrayed as an actual formal and approved part of society rather than being random wingnuts. It's not an internet flash mob but a physical confrontation with police complicity.

    1. If the offence were trivial (e.g. she hated a book so much she tweeted a photo of it in the toilet), it would turn the online lynch mob into a cardboard villain. If it were truly heinous (e.g. she snipped off a child's finger) then it would be impossible to have any sympathy for her at all.

      So I think the author called it right. We're angry at the lynch mob, but we're uncomfortable with her too.

      And I agree with your point about the speculative element. I should have seen that. :-)

    2. Sorry - the comment below was supposed to go here.

  2. I kind of think online lynch mobs *are* cardboard villains, though. ;) In the other case, I don't think she'd be the focus so much as the mob (so the sympathy wouldn't be that big of a deal). Still, I see your points and maybe it is right. Still think Orwell and Allen covered it, though.