Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Bond as Deep as Starlit Seas, by Sarah Grey

★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

(SF Adventure) Jeri’s ready to trade her old spaceship for a new, more efficient model, but she loved her old ship and wants to be sure she doesn’t end up scrapped for parts. (6,920 words; Time: 23m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘GTognetti+1 (Q&A)

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 99, published on .

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

Review: 2018.428 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Jeri’s attachment to Cleo causes her to lose everything, but she and Cleo have a plan to get away, and the story ends with the two of them together starting a new adventure.

Con: This is an example of the idiot plot. Jeri’s problems are all self-inflicted because she can’t accept that Cleo is just a machine. She seems unusually clueless too. How did she not know that more modern ships didn’t have the emotive-adaptive programming? Or that emotive-adaptive programming might lead to dependence? Or that the Henza don’t really honor deals if they can help it?

And how could the Henza be so stupid as to leave such an easy way for someone to escape their indenture?

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4 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. The bio link is for the wrong Sarah Grey. Here's her website:

    1. Thanks, I've updated the spreadsheet and refreshed this page.

  2. This story was beautiful and my favorite of 2018. Strongly disagree with this review. I am not a crier, but I feel it is my reluctant duty to admit that this story brought tears. MANLY TEARS I SAY!!! The relationship between Jeri and it really real? No such assurance, but it's all about hope. Love it. FIVE STARS!!!!!

    1. It's a very special story that can provoke tears of joy, that's for sure. When that happens to me, I always want to give the story 5 stars (and I usually do).

      Emotional-AI stories are always a hard sell for me, though, and in this case, the text made it pretty clear (I thought) that Cleo wasn't really intelligent; her software was just meant to make users feel emotionally attached to her. They didn't make many like that before they realized it was a big mistake. Jeri was just really unlucky.

      In that light, the story reads more like the sad tale of an addict who ruins her life because she can't break her habit. Getting Cleo back was the worst possible outcome for her. What she needed was therapy--paid for by the manufacturer.

      It's obvious that the author meant it to be a happy ending. I found I couldn't believe that, which is why I recommended against it. (Two stars generally means I couldn't suspend disbelief for the story.)