Terraform, March 30, 2015
Reviewed by Nicky Magas
You have just created Artemis, her world, and everything in it in “From Fire” by Cecca Ochoa. She’s doing well for herself. Within the first month Artemis has learned how to hunt, build a shelter and tame wild animals. This earns her tokens, which you use to propel her world into greater heights of luxury. The only problem is, Artemis isn’t ready for your gifts, and your interference is only making existence harder for her.
This incredibly short story has a lot of things going for it, though I hesitate to say that the second person narration is one of them. It doesn’t interrupt the story as much as some second person narration does, but it doesn’t add much to it either. The plot, however, is solid. The premise of creating virtual life is given a casual spin in “From Fire,” with the ‘reader’ playing a simulation game instead of deliberately setting out to play god, for example. While the events accelerate a little too fast for either the reader or Artemis to adapt to the narrative’s changing environment, the themes of creation and undertones of divinity are sure to strike a personal note with anyone who has ever played a virtual world building game.