Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Datafall: Collected Speculative Fiction by Rich Larson

The Garden: A technician confronts a rogue AI who has taken the directive to create a paradise a touch too literally. It's a concept that has been done countless times and this story doesn't really take it in any new directions. The mini twist was well done but there is not a great deal of character development allowed in this short piece and it felt unfinished. 6/10.

Every so often: A man is sent back in time to protect a child Adolf Hitler from other time travellers. Very interesting concepts raised in this story. Larson is able to successfully demonstrate the weariness of the protagonist and the doubts of one man who will never know if doing his job successfully will make a difference. 8/10.

Memory Cathedrals: A star soccer player whose career was cut short by injury sells his memories to up and coming players. An original and engaging concept but I would have liked to see it given more time to develop. 7.5/10.

Loopholes: A wealthy murderer finds a loophole to dodge the justice system but the homicide detective assigned to the case finds a loophole of his own. By far strongest story in the collection. The protagonist is interesting and well-drawn, the concept is great and it has a strong conclusion. 8.5/10.

Back so Soon: A bored business woman gets more than she bargained for when a fling with a shell-shocked colonist. Very clever twist. 8/10.

Factory Man: In a world where corpses are reprogramed and put to work a young man confronts the corpse of his abusive father. Interesting concept but a wasted opportunity. This piece feels unfinished and there was so much potential for character development that was missed. 6/10.

Datafall: A young boy and his father are excited when the cloud appears and they have temporary internet access. A clever concept but doesn't go too far. 6.5/10.

Overall there some very good pieces in this collection but also a few that could have been developed further. 7.25/10.

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