Strange Horizons, November 9, 2020
Reviewed by Seraph
The shortness of this story is misleading. There is an incredible amount of depth in those few words, and it covers everything from life to love, and to loss. The loss within is not the loss of material things, but of hope, and perhaps even that of humanity. The science fiction elements are strong, and indicate a near-future setting. The woman whom the story follows has chosen a life of solitude on an island outside an unspecified city, where she mostly works remotely on robotic prototypes. There is a lot to empathize with, but there is a profound sense of sadness and hopelessness. At one point, most poignantly, rather than keep a recording of a most rare and fortuitous encounter with nature, she has it deleted, rather than allow it to give her hope and warmth. Her robotic (albeit nearly human) companion is more than happy to oblige, and it’s hard to escape the fact that by removing herself from human contact, she has become far more like her companion: nearly human, but missing something that can never be replicated or replaced.