Wednesday, April 15, 2020

AirBody, by Sameem Siddiqui

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(SF Drama) AirBody is like AirB&B except you rent out your body, not your home. Arsalan doesn’t expect any trouble from a middle-aged Pakistani woman, but everything she does reminds him of lost opportunities in his own past. (4,981 words; Time: 16m)

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

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

Review: 2020.199 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The best part of this story is the interaction between Arsalan and Meena, who keeps calling him “beta” (son). He still thinks of himself as a Pakistani Muslim, but she keeps showing him how much he’s not: He drinks alcohol. His Urdu is bad. His clothes are too Western. His cooking’s inadequate.

But she’s got her own problems. She seems to be someone important in Pakistan, but the love of her life was a woman. They make love using Arsalan’s body, but nothing is resolved for them. Arsalan sees that the old woman, in her own way, it just as messed up as he is.

He briefly thinks of trying to reunite with his ex-girlfriend. Another man would have, but that’s not him, and he takes another AirBody contract instead. He knows who he is, even if it’s not much, and he accepts himself for what he is.

Con: My biggest problem with the story was that I didn’t like Arsalan very much. The story of how he and Karla broke up lowered my opinion of him so much that I wasn’t very excited to read more about him.

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