Strange Horizons, May 18, 2015
Reviewed by Stevie Barry
If the eyes are the windows of the soul, what difference do artificial eyes make? Can they actually change the way a person is, not just how they are perceived by others? S.L. Huang‘s “By Degrees and Dilatory Time” asks this question about what makes us who we are. The nameless narrator loses his eyes to cancer, and has them replaced with cybernetics. Many who can afford it have that done electively, either to improve their vision or to draw attention, but our protagonist doesn’t want new eyes. His artificial vision is inhumanly clear, and in many ways far more useful than it had been naturally, but he no longer feels like himself. His struggle to re-define who he is, and to come to terms with that, is bittersweet and very effective.