Friday, March 8, 2019

All of Me, by R.S. Benedict

★★★★☆ The Whole Is Greater Than the Parts

(Modern Fantasy Adventure) A “mermaid” rescues a drowning man who pays a researcher to turn her into a beautiful woman. He makes her a Hollywood star, but it turns out she has one of the key abilities of starfish. (17,955 words; Time: 59m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘RSR+1 πŸ‘STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"All of Me," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 03-04|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.144 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: When you cut off a piece of a starfish, it regrows, but the amputated piece itself will grow into a whole new starfish as long as it contains part of the center. Isabel has been modified from a giant singing starfish, and she’s got that regrowth ability in spades.

It takes a little while to figure out that the newly-grown Isabels contain all the memories of the one they were taken from up to the point they were cut off. So when Vic’s price for doing the work to make Isabel a star is having his own copy, the original cuts off her ear so he can grow a sex-slave from it. All narrators in the story are descended from that ear.

From that point, the narration generally follows a single “chain” of Isabels, with a few exceptions here and there. Once you figure that out, the rest is a lot clearer. There’s usually a reference to the body part being a bit over-sized at first.

The real Isabel has all the money and all the power; the others are just pests or, at most, useful tools. It’s no wonder Eddie tries to kill and burn any unwanted copies.

The tragedy is that there’s no way for them to return to the sea to be as they were. Doctor Seong’s work can’t ever be undone. I feel sorry for the group headed to the abyss.

On a side note, all the tabloids trying to make sense of the news generated by all these Isabel copies is pretty funny.

Con: It’s hard to like Isabel very much—in any incarnation. We root for her to take down the bad people, but after that, there’s nowhere for her to go. In particular, all these Isabels are kind of a threat to humanity, if you think about it.

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