Kathryn Cramer is not an author I’ve read before, and I figured it was high time I review another story by a female writer. It sounds like she knows science fiction quite well, however, as her small bio at the end of the story states that “She is a science-fiction editor and writer currently editing the Year’s Best SF series with her husband, David G. Hartwell.” So, yeah, I figured she knew a thing or two about SF stories. But how is her writing, hmm? That is the million dollar question!
This short story appeared on Nature.com back in October of 2011, and I was made aware of it by Tinkoo’s review of it that same year. Anyway, it is quite short – which makes for an easy read on the bus ride home so I gave it a shot. (There you go – now you know the most important criteria I use when deciding which stories to read for this web site! ;-) )
So, anyway, the story grabbed me right from the beginning: a writer checks out some sort of new fangled book / software from the library, and we learn that she runs up huge fines because it is so good that she doesn’t want to return it. Sheesh, I can’t remember the last time I got something that good from the library. Anyway, as the story progresses we find out that this amazing book she now has is actually some sort of personal writing coach, and as the writer lady uses it more she learns how to manipulate it to get better results. Well, once the effects of better writing kick in you can’t really blame her for not wanting to return it, can you? No. Thus the big fines mentioned earlier.
I enjoyed the story for a few reasons. First because of the cool book gadget thingy, and second because it is written well. Also it is short, which made it easier for me to remember the whole thing while writing this review.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this fine piece of smallish fiction – so if you’re inclined to check it out hop on over to Nature.com and give it a go. Fun times are waiting!