Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Key to Composing Human Skin, by Julianna Baggott


(Dystopia) A woman in a near-future propaganda firm comes up with a way for governments to reach out to recalcitrant citizens—by displaying messages on their skins. (6,506 words; Time: 21m)

"The Key to Composing Human Skin," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 01-02|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.047 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: There’s a story inside a story here; the male narrator is telling the story from quite some time in the future from the events described here.

The broad idea is that they’ll construct a special virus that enables the government to communicate directly with people via messages on their skin. The secret is that Hetzella and the programmer, Schulm, are going to modify it in a way that brings the evil government down.

Con: This dystopia, where they’ve done away with all of the arts and most religions, and where the US government sees no problem with putting messages on everyone’s skin, is a little hard to believe.

It’s also a little hard to see why this would convince anyone of anything. The medium is a difficult one for conveying much info, and most people don’t go around with a lot of exposed skin. It seems like something more likely to benefit the government than any citizen.

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Julianna Baggott Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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