Sunday, July 5, 2020

Retention, by Alec Nevala-Lee

[Analog]
★★★★☆ Persist with this one; there’s more here than meets the eye.

(SF Thriller) It all started when Perry tried to call customer service to cancel his account, but the online system was amazingly persistent in finding ways to discourage him from that. (2,731 words; Time: 09m)

Recommended By: 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)


"Retention," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 07-08|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.338 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: As Perry argues with the service, it seems stranger and stranger that the bot won’t just give up. Moreover, it seems strange that Perry just puts up with it—he has the option to go in person to a service center to cancel, after all. There must be more to it—and there is.

I have to admit I didn’t see the twist coming, but when we got there, all the pieces fell into place. Perry isn’t there; he’s dead. He’s been dead for hundreds of years. We’re following two surviving software systems talking to each other.

It reminded me a bit of “There Will Come Soft Rains,” by Ray Bradbury
Con: It’s great for what it is, but, by its nature, there’s no character development, and the setting is really depressing.

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Alec Nevala-Lee Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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