Friday, December 7, 2018

Marshmallows, by D.A. Xiaolin Spires

★★★☆☆ Average

(Augmented Reality Dystopia) When Chunfei’s little sister uses up her credits, she’s forced to face the real world outside, with rats, cockroaches, and boarded up buildings, not the elves, snow, and gingerbread houses she’s used to. (3,394 words; Time: 11m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 147, published on .

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

Review: 2018.684 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: I loved the way Chunfei knows what bits of the simulation to keep her hands away from; she’s not oblivious to the problems around her. She just doesn’t like to actually see them.

Given how easily her little sister overdrew her account, it also seems that Chunfei isn’t that far from the streets herself. Something I’m sure she’s at least as eager not to think about.

In terms of plot, it’s certainly complete, if simple: she loses her access to her mock reality but eventually gets it back. Sadly, despite her generosity with the “Luddud” Santa, she goes right back to what she was before, unchanged.

Con: Very little actually happens in this story, and Chunfei is pretty passive through the whole thing.

I’m not sure how workable this is; I kept thinking how people like her would be terribly vulnerable to criminals trying to assault them and/or steal from them.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 147)
D.A. Xiaolin Spires Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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