Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Voice, by Bruce McAllister

★★★★☆ A nice guy with a hard choice in a difficult position.

(SF Thriller; DreamPet) Jude knows his company is secretly selling engineered animals that were meant to be disposed of. He needs more proof to go public, but meanwhile one of the creations is invading his mind. (4,988 words; Time: 16m)

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

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

Review: 2020.262 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Jude should eventually do something with the evidence he’s been collecting, but the creature’s demands are far more urgent. The more we learn about him, the more we realize he tends to avoid hard decisions; maybe he won’t do anything with the evidence, just as his didn’t do anything to ease his father’s pain. The “merman” forces Jude to do the right thing, although, as Jude observes at the end, the voice in his head was always his own—he’s always known the right thing to do.

I liked the ethical dilemma here: a struggling company wants to stay in business, so it sells things under the table in technical violation of the law, but with a “who does it hurt?” attitude, no one looks too closely. Of course Jude experiences that hurt very directly.

Con: Jude’s father’s situation seems contrived. In a terminal patient, “all pain can be relieved by an appropriately potent drug at sufficient dosage.”

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Bruce McAllister Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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