Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Touches, by Brenda Peynado


(Virtual Reality) Humanity lives in virtual reality as much as it can, but sometimes there are things you have to do in the real world—no matter how dangerous that is. (7,152 words; Time: 23m)

"," by (edited by Ann VanderMeer), published on by .

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

Review: 2019.664 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is a really grim story of people barely surviving in a ruined world where they’ve sacrificed much of what it means to be human and accepted a poor replica. Over the course of the story, it becomes clear a) just how much was lost and b) that Salipa isn’t willing to settle for that anymore.

I liked the fact that the VR experience required people to regularly deal with problems in the real world. It wasn’t the seamless magic that most stories use; people needed to exit VR to use the bathroom, to eat, to bathe, etc. Much more realistic. And it was clear that it wasn’t as good as real life; Salipa’s conclusion on that score made total sense.

Con: It takes quite a while before it’s clear what the story is about.

Intrusive message statements detract from the work. E.g. “There doesn’t come a day when I’m not thankful that these are government task forces, instead of corporate-run research which would have guaranteed that only the rich would be able to be human or re-enter dirty once we figured out how to fight the diseases.” (That must be why only the rich have cars or laptop computers or Internet access.) It doesn’t matter whether one agrees with the messages or not, though; they break suspension of disbelief.

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Brenda Peynado Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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