Friday, September 7, 2018

Waves of Influence, by D.A. Xiaolin Spires

★★★★☆ Good Protagonist, Strong Plot

(Near-Future SF) The narrator wins an apprenticeship with a top social-media figure, who doesn’t realize she cheated and has plans to impersonate her. (5,730 words; Time: 19m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 144, published on .

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

Review: 2018.493 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Chenghui sets out to impersonate Meixiu, and, sure enough, over time, she turns into her, albeit not in the way she originally imagined. She’s a social-media figure in her own right, and every bit as shallow as her mentor. She goes a whole year without even talking to her dying sister—who surely would have valued visits from her sister more than anything from online—and when she does visit, she finds she doesn’t really care about her any more.

It’s logical, inevitable, and crushing.

Meiziu is understandable, and hardly a villain. She’s a non-nonsense showperson, and seems to teach Chenghui fairly. She doesn’t set out to corrupt her—Chenghui manages that all by herself.

Con: Chenghui’s motivation seems hard to believe from the very start. She can’t possibly believe she’ll cure her sister’s genetic disease by making her think she’s getting personal attention from her online idol.

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D.A. Xiaolin Spires Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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