Friday, September 7, 2018

Hard Mary, by Sofia Samatar

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Robot SF) On a cold winter’s night, some girls in an isolated, religious community uncover a robot abandoned in the snow by the barn. They decide to clean her up and make her a friend. (15,795 words; Time: 52m)

This story is not available for free online; you have to purchase the issue to read it.

"Hard Mary," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 100, published on .

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

Review: 2018.503 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The community are Old Order Mennonites.

Much of the charm of the story is learning how things actually work inside the community and getting some idea of why Lyddie loves it there. For example, as her husband, Sam is nominally her lord and master, and he does give her orders. But he clearly loves her, and nothing happens when she disregards his orders.

Mary doesn’t really have a place in their community, but Mim doesn’t either. At its heart, this is the story of how Mim learned what she was really capable of and how she chose to leave the community on her own terms.

Jonathan is very funny. “I thought you were pacifists!”

Con: Despite Lyddie's love for the place, to me, it was an awful dystopia, and I found it painful watching them make all their decisions without ever considering escaping.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 100)
Sofia Samatar Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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