Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Men Who Change the World, by Christopher East

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Alternate Reality) In a slightly different 1990s USA, Adam has a boring job doing data entry for one of the biggest companies in the world, when one night a stranger offers him a drink that changes everything. (7,252 words; Time: 24m)

"The Men Who Change the World," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 116, published on .

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

Review: 2020.036 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Adam takes a drink from a stranger in a world where it seems everyone has a job, and if you don’t like the job, they’ll move you to one you might like better. And there’s a stipend if your job doesn’t pay quite enough. And there haven’t been any wars in a long time. And somehow, it’s all connected to Adam’s company, Ubiquity.

It’s a world that seems to have a lot to recommend it—except that Adam feels like a failure, and the future looks dull. So when a stranger offers him a drink, and that drink lets him see things he didn’t see before, he’s ready to try to do things to bring down Ubiquity.

The cloak-and-dagger while he investigates the place is both interesting and exciting, with just the right amount of tension. But it’s also fun getting hints about how this version of reality differed from our reality.

Con: The Ubiquity people do have a point; they’ve got a peaceful, prosperous world. It does make sense to want to protect it.

Adam is enough of a loser that it’s hard to root for him, especially at the end, when he’s ready to ruin it for everyone else—with no assurance that this will really help him personally at all.

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