Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A System for Investigating Recapitulation and Evolutionary Novelty, by Kyle E. Miller


(Dystopia) The world is modeled as a giant plant, and everyone gets their own leaves. People interact online, but almost never in person. L never questioned that before, but lately she’s started wanting more. (5,156 words; Time: 17m)

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 163, published on .

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

Review: 2020.200 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is pretty much the story of L’s attempt to get away—for better or for worse. Her determination to do so is incredible—horrifying even. The scenes where she shatters teeth and breaks bones were painful to read.

This story has echoes of “A Very Private Life,” by Michael Frayn (1968) and “The Machine Stops,” by E.M. Forster (1909). On the one hand, you have the naΓ―ve young girl wanting to get away from her secluded life and having no idea of the cost, and on the other hand you have the system no one understands anymore that seems on the verge of failure.

Con: The self-mutilation scenes were impossible to believe, and they make L seem insane. Also, if the leaf is so good at repairing L, why doesn’t it repair itself overnight? Separately, the graphic masturbation scene didn’t seem to serve any point.

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