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Millisent Ka Plays in Realtime by Jason Sanford

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“Millisent Ka Plays in Realtime” is a 2010 science fiction short story by Jason Sanford. It is about a special girl who grows up in a future musical fiefdom.

Non-Spoiler Summary

Day 51 - Recording viola by Vladimir Agafonkin, CC 2.0 license

Millisent Ka is born to parents who are in the employ of a neo-feudal musical fiefdom. This is just one of many future kingdoms that are based on time-debt – a type of economy where people make purchases based on how much time they will give back to their lords and ladies. But there is something different about Millisent – so much so that Lady Amanza Collins and His Lordship make a little wager as to how special she will turn out. Over time Millisent racks up years worth of debt and when she comes of age is given to His Lordship’s employ to begin paying off her heavy debts. Guess what? She isn’t all that talented in the musical department! However, she ends up being a teacher and slowly – so very slowly – begins paying off her debts. That is until one day she discovers an amazing secret about herself. And it is a secret so big that everyone in all the kingdoms will soon be looking for her! Oh what’s a girl to do?

My Two Cents

  • Story: 5 stars – A very imaginative future and some great characters! Plus, Millisent’s secret was totally awesome!
  • Writing: 5 stars – I am a fan of Jason Sanford so I was a little bit predisposed to like this piece. Regardless, I think the writing was stellar and the story flowed wonderfully. A pleasure to read!
  • Fun Factor: 5 stars – This was a page-turner and I raced through it to find out what happened. Really, I wish I could read more stories this cool!
  • If you enjoyed this story be sure to check out “The Fluted Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi – about the vengeful plot of a servant girl whose body has been extensively sculpted by the ruler of her fief.

Where To Get Millisent Ka Plays in Realtime

  • This story was originally published in Interzone #231 (Nov/Dec 2010) – which is difficult to find. You may be able to get a copy at the TTA Press website or ebay.com .
  • I read it in Jason Sanford’s awesome collection of short stories: Never Never Stories – a book that I highly recommend!