Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The River, by Alice Towey

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(SF Drama) Imani got the implant so she could do her job better, but now the job is taking over her whole life. (6,184 words; Time: 20m)

"The River," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 05-06|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.257 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: It’s a nice exploration of the idea that given the sort of data access the story envisions, someone might spend all of her time playing with it, to the detriment of everything else in life. This isn’t so far-fetched; we saw it with people who became obsessed with computers when those were fairly new.

The story is at its most interesting when it explores how she feels about the implant and how unimportant other things seem to her.

I was very pleased that Imani eventually found a way to balance her new technological power with the rest of her life. I’d been afraid she’d just get it removed or something, but the story chose to end on the high note of keeping it but still enjoying things in life that don’t involve it.

Con: The story tries to be about more than that—set in ~2080 when California has 2/3 more people and all the rivers are running dry—but these things are just background information and never really affect the plot directly. We learn very little about Imani or any of the other characters—the focus is narrowly on the implant and its effects.

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