Wednesday, November 13, 2019

SeeApp, by James Van Pelt

★★★★☆ Interesting, Tense, Rewarding

(Uncanny Horror) A janitor wonders if he should trust an app answers questions no one could know the answers to. Especially when that app suggests someone may be about to stage a school shooting. (8,062 words; Time: 26m)

Recommended By: 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"SeeApp," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 11-12|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.624 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: SeeApp is supernatural, of course, even though Handy doesn’t realize it. It can only answer certain kinds of factual questions, but it’s clearly trying to alert Handy to a terrible danger that’s coming.

What I really like about this story is how nothing is wasted; all the pieces fit together nicely. The apparently silly questions about mountain lions, for example, turn out to be very important at the end.

Another charm is the masterful use of misdirection. The rifle that turns out to be a paint gun. The teacher with a gun who only means to hurt himself.

Handy himself is delightful. It’s great that he gets to be a hero in the end. And, of course, its purpose served, SeeApp vanishes.

Con: It’s a little hard to believe Handy is just a janitor. He seems way over-qualified.

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James Van Pelt Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Hi, Greg. Thanks for the review. As always, RSR's attention to short fiction is gratifying. I find myself looking at them for reading suggestions all the time. I taught high school for 37 years. Most of the janitors seemed over-qualified. :)

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I guess you just had better janitors than the ones I remember when I was in school!