Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Selfless, by James Patrick Kelly

[Asimov's]
★★★☆☆

(Horror) Joseph shifts from one personality to another depending on the context, but the most dangerous is the empty personality. (7,796 words; Time: 25m)

Recommended By: 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)


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

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

Review: 2019.622 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: I like the concept: certain people are able to “take/gather” others, giving them this unique way of dealing with reality by shifting between “selves” according to the moment. The discovery that it’s not just his family that can do this makes it more interesting.

The ending, where Joseph resists “taking” his husband’s daughter suggests that he does still have some basic humanity after all.

Con: There are lots of pieces to this story that just don’t seem to fit together. Joseph’s relationship with his husband and daughter is strained by his desire to move into town. His awful relationship with his mother, whom he still blames for “taking” him as a child. The new group of “gatherers” he’s just met. And his growing hunger to “take” people himself. But these pieces all exist mostly independently; they never jell into a whole.

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