Friday, October 11, 2019

You Have Arrived at Your Destination, by Amor Towles

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(SF Drama) Sam visits Vitec to discuss what sort of child they can produce for him and his wife. (13,519 words; Time: 45m)

"You Have Arrived at Your Destination," by (edited by Blake Crouch), published on by .

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

Review: 2019.575 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Sam gets to look at the projections for three very different potential kids: the nice guy who finishes last, the rebel who struggles but then finds success unsatisfying, and the guy who succeeds at everything only to squander his advantages. Each of the scenarios is supposed to end on a hopeful note, but Sam finds it depressing. Worse, he keeps obsessing over his father’s financial failures and how those shaped his own life choices.

When he winds up in the bar getting drunk, he tells his own story and hears how the bartender had a very different, much less privileged life. After some reflection (plus one fight), he concludes he’d be better off not knowing, and he cancels the deal with Vitec.

Con: Setting aside the improbably precise technology (that’s the what-if for the story, after all), I found it hard to sympathize with Sam. In particular, I didn’t see what motivated him to get drunk with strangers, especially when it seemed clear he didn’t normally do that. And I really didn’t see why he refused to talk to his wife about his concerns.

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