Sunday, September 8, 2019

Then, When, by Eric Del Carlo

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(SF Drama) When Barrett’s ex dies, she leaves him a “mirror” of himself she made illegally eleven years ago. What do you do with an AI that thinks it’s you but eleven years younger? (9,677 words; Time: 32m)

Recommended By: 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"Then, When," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 09-10|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.490 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The story is about what Barrett learns about himself from his mirror and how he makes himself a better person. The mirror isn’t really him, of course, but it’s a lot like the man he might have been, if he’d ever been willing to give himself to someone else. It’s free of the reluctance that cost him his relationship with Aggie, who might have been his soulmate.

But he does end up making a commitment to Beckett, and when Aggie meets the boy, far from being upset, she’s charmed; a Barrett who’s capable of commitment is worth taking back.

Con: If you take the position that the mirror is just a program, then the whole thing really does look pretty gross. Regardless, Barrett seems a bit self-destructive, obsessing over the mirror, losing his girlfriend over it, etc.

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