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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Strange Horizons -- November 5, 2018

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Strange Horizons, November 5, 2018

"Some Personal Arguments in Support of the BetterYou (Based on Early Interactions)" by Debbie Urbanski

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

The narrator of "Some Personal Arguments in Support of the BetterYou (Based on Early Interactions)" by Debbie Urbanski is a married woman with children. She describes herself as asexual and depressed. She lives at a future time when technology can erase bad memories and replace them with better ones. It also provides the BetterYou of the title, a duplicate of one's self with an improved personality. The narrator's BetterYou is sexual and optimistic. This saves the woman's marriage, but at the cost of losing her identity.

This story is an allegory about compromising one's true nature in order to fit into cultural norms. The company that manufactures the BetterYou only provides this device to those who exist on the margins of society, such as asexual persons. The narrator states that she is too old and too tired to fight for her right to be herself. Her acceptance of the BetterYou as a good thing provides the story with tragic irony. The narrative style is cold and distant. Given the narrator's mood, this is inevitable. However, it makes it difficult for the reader to empathize with her.


Victoria Silverwolf thinks the title of this story is a bit too long.