Saturday, May 9, 2020

It Was a Tradition When You Turned 16, by Eric Cline

★★★★☆ A sweet little tale of time and change.

(SF Drama) A father determines to teach his teen-age daughter the lost art of driving an automobile. (3,775 words; Time: 12m)

"It Was a Tradition When You Turned 16," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 05-06|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.250 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is a great story of a father struggling mightily to teach his teenage daughter something she really, really does not want to learn. Countless things point to how hopeless this task is. The sad condition of the mall parking lot. The vehicle’s reluctance to hand over control. The poor quality of the manual controls. We know this is going to fail—the only question is how badly?

But we also learn that Ray loves his daughter, and, despite being a sullen teenager, she loves him too. She gives it a fair try, and when she wants to call it quits, he doesn’t push her too hard.

The technical details were well done. The car doesn’t have real intelligence. Safety features actually work and even terrorists couldn’t subvert them. The world is, by all accounts, a better place, even if it’s become a different place.

Con: I think the story should have had some emotional impact, but I didn’t feel anything, probably because the stakes were so low. The whole plot is “Ray gives his daughter a driving lesson against her will, but at the end he accepts that the world has changed, and that’s okay.”

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