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Short Stories 365:287

A lovely Thanksgiving today, though being from England, it's not a big deal in our household. Still, it's a nice reminder to stop and think about the things that are good, and I have plenty of those and am well aware how blessed my life is. We had a lazy day today so far - and it's not looking like that's about to change before nightfall - and that's been good. I'm well aware of just how crazy things are about to get for me at the day job, and am battening down my mental and emotional hatches for the upcoming blur that is retail Christmas.

"The Gambrels of the Sky," by Erin Hoffman

One thing I think I've said again and again in my trip through the stories in Beyond the Sun is how much I've enjoyed the very different voices and takes on the soft theme of "elsewhere" presented for the whole of the collection. Here, Hoffman doesn't skip this requirement - this is indeed a story set somewhere far from the reach of today - but the elsewhere in this story is as much internal and psychological as it is a physical place.

Some of the best world building I've read in SF in quite a while is here, too. Not explained so much as experienced through example and natural conversation, this place - and the people we are watching in this place - have the technological ability to recreate simulations (for lack of a better word) that are enticingly real.

Perhaps dangerously real.

Could you resist the lure of a companion that lived just for you? Would you even try? What if it was so a piece of your own mind, once experienced, that not going ahead with it was near impossible?

It's a wonderful story, and the kind of story that SF can do so incredibly well. I'll be hunting down more Hoffman.

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