55327_girl-writing_mdIn case anyone has missed it, there’s a controversy about diversity vs. traditionalism the Hugo Awards this year. A group of conservative traditionalists (e.g. Vox Day, Brad Torgersen, Larry Correia) has stacked the ballot, and because of that, a number of people who never paid any attention are now WorldCon supporting members and will be voting. That includes me. We’re getting down to the wire here, which means I need to start reading. I’ll post reviews of the stories/novels here during the next week or so.

The first short story I’ve gotten to is “Totaled” by Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, 07-2014). Neurological researcher Maggie is killed in a car accident and her brain is returned to her own lab where she regains consciousness. She and her research partner Randy are forced by management to continue her research, using her brain as the subject. Randy manages to establish communication with her and she regains sight and hearing. Together they complete the project. As others celebrate, Maggie feels decay catching up with her, and she asks Randy to send her on her way to death.

This story is well-written, straightforward and sentimental, focusing heavily on Maggie’s memories of her children. It’s successful in this regard, as I felt touched. Without checking, I don’t think the science is realistic. English describes it as “bionet, a microscopic web of living, electrical conduits no more than three molecules wide. If we could stabilize the bionet, there was so much we could do—regulate neurotransmitters, end depression, cure Alzheimer’s…” Other than this, there’s nothing much about it. The story asks no questions about the research or the larger world outside the lab. This means it’s not thought provoking. Two stars.