Monday, October 3, 2011

Midnight Blue

Short Story by Will McIntosh
Read for Escape Pod by Paul Haring (Text & Audio Free Online)

Extremely fun world in which White Picket Fence America has been transformed by spheres which convey superpowers to whomever absorbs them. More rare spheres contain better powers, and since they appeared 2 generations ago, most of them have been used up, and today superpowers are a commodity only the rich can afford. Jeff is bullied by his rich classmates who love to show off the trivial little powers their parents have bought for them (Better Sense of Taste!, Good Whistler!). One day Jeff finds the rarest sphere of all, no one knows what it does but bulletproof, flying millionaires want to purchase it from him.

A sweet, fun little childhood story. I love the world McIntosh develops, but I'm a little torn on the ending. It is extremely heartwarming, but I feel like it takes away any of the negative consequences for Jeff's decision. I like the initial depiction as both options had pluses and minuses, but Jeff ends up all positive, and this rings a little false for me. I guess it does fit better with the hopeful, magical, nostalgic mood of the piece, but I prefer consequences.

3.5 superpowers absorbed, out of 5.

Originally Published in Asimov’s

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