Sunday, May 5, 2019

Not Only Who You Know, by Jay O'Connell

★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

(SF Thriller) Rosalind thinks her former boss (and former boyfriend) cheated her, but now that she’s got his head in a jar, she’s determined to make him give her what she wants. (7,327 words; Time: 24m)

"Not Only Who You Know," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 05-06|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.247 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The story alternates between Rosalind quizzing Jack’s head and giving us the background on how they met and how their relationship got to this point. In the process, we learn why she despises Jack and people like him, and why she felt cheated. Then it resolves the question of how you get anything out of someone under duress.

Con: Rosalind is a monster, but the story makes her out to be a hero.

To people who might not have worked in a creative role at a big company, something that often upsets new hires is the discovery that anything they invent while working at the company will belong to the company, and that if you use things you invented at home before your employment, you’ve given the company a permanent, free license to them. The explanation I used to give was that if you want to own the intellectual property in everything you invent, then you must support yourself as an independent inventor. That’s a hard life, though, because most inventions don’t pan out, and commercializing an invention takes lots of people with expertise in lots of areas. What you’re doing when you take a job at a big company is you’re selling the rights to anything you invent in exchange for the security of a steady paycheck.

At Microsoft and Amazon, if someone came up with something that made the company a lot of money, we generally gave out big bonuses and extra stock options, where “big” can mean as much as $250,000, which is substantial but nothing near what Rosalind is demanding.

Rosalind uses torture and threatens murder in order to get money she had no right to. The fact that Jack marries her and never seeks any sort of revenge is just irrational.

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