Monday, July 30, 2018

The Nearest, by Greg Egan

★★★★☆ Lots of tension and surprise

(Near-Future Police Procedural) An Australian detective investigates a woman who apparently killed her husband and children before disappearing. (16,672 words; Time: 55m)

"," by (edited by Jonathan Strahan), published on by .

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

Pro: The best part of this story is the methodical way Kat investigates this mysterious disease, collecting lots of valuable information despite her condition, up to the point where she finally realizes it is she, and not her family, who has the disease.

Although it’s obvious to the reader almost at once that Kat is the one with the problem, there’s a great deal of tension as we worry if she’s going to hurt her husband or her child. Or if she’s going to be caught by her colleagues (although it’s a reverse tension because we’re eager for them to catch her).
It’s quite satisfying that she resolves it all by herself.

The story reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s “The Ten O’clock People,” in which a man sees that people around him are turning into monsters which almost no one else can see. Except that, in that story, the monsters were real.

Capgras syndrome is a real thing, although not as a contagious disease.

Con: Because it was so obvious that Kat was the one infected, the middle part of the story drags in places.

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