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Another Nebula nominee. This story was published by Clarkesworld (8/15).

Medical Care Android BRKCX-01932-217JH-98662 is caretaker to Mildred, an older woman who is still living at home, but is slowly losing her memory. The Android has an emulation function that allows it to impersonate Mildred’s family members who seldom come to visit. We watch as it emulates her son Paul, her granddaughter Anna, her daughter-in-law Susan and other family and acquaintances from her past. Their interactions reveal their relationships, their personalities and their fears. After a fire in the house, Mildred is seriously injured and the real people arrive to bid her goodbye.

Another sentient AI? It’s popular. This is the most sentimental of the short story Nebula nominees. It’s highly absorbing, which means Shoemaker has a strong grasp of the medium. He reveals the relationships and the fears that drive people apart, paints pictures of old couples holding hands, of sons saying goodbye to their mothers and of old caretakers finding new beginnings.

My taste runs to dark fantasy and action-adventure, but I’ll have to give the man credit for his technique.

Four stars.

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