"spotted cool things their listing bots had mislabeled and underpriced"
August 28, 2020 7:24 AM   Subscribe

"Mika was careful. But you heard stories." In the short, sweet scifi story "Legal Salvage" by Holli Mintzer, a vintage seller navigates a forgotten building of self-storage lockers, an unfamiliar sorting bot, Geoff the sentient traffic light, and a party. Part of Slate's Future Tense Fiction series, in partnership with Arizona State University's Center for Science and the Imagination. Thematically related to Mintzer's "Tomorrow Is Waiting" (previously; MeFi's Own!).
posted by brainwane (13 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
That was sweet, thanks for sharing.

Also the title reminds me of the phrase "legitimate salvage" which pops up in The Expanse, which I recommend as the best sci-fi I have seen on TV or in movies.
posted by exogenous at 8:00 AM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

Lovely. Thanks for sharing this story.
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:09 AM on August 28, 2020

I spotted the twist coming but not the exact way it would. I liked how the writer didn't make it sentimental OR grimdark, just a little weird and absurd, like humans (and in this story AIs) tend to be.
posted by emjaybee at 8:10 AM on August 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

You can't see my heart-eyes, but they are in full effect and it has all the things I love to read about. AI, robots, and kitschy vintage? Be still my heart!
posted by Katemonkey at 8:53 AM on August 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

Excellent stories, thank you.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:01 AM on August 28, 2020

Oh, wow. I really liked that.

I liked that much better than I guessed I would. (How do you know whether you're going to like something before you read it? You can't. You don't.)

There were several lines that had me smiling and at least one that made me actually laugh.

Now I'm going to look up everything else by Holli Mintzer, with a little apprehension that I won't like it as much, but of course - I didn't think I was going to like this quite so much, and I was so pleasantly surprised.

Thank you so much for sharing this, brainwane.
posted by kristi at 1:15 PM on August 28, 2020

Didn't recognize the title of Tomorrow is Waiting, and didn't look at the author's name as I was reading the piece, but OF COURSE it's Holli Mintzer!
posted by Horkus at 1:28 PM on August 28, 2020

That was lovely, and now I've bookmarked it so I can read the other stories. Also going to check out Holli Mintzer, who I had not heard of before. Thanks!
posted by Fuchsoid at 2:40 PM on August 28, 2020

It's always a little surreal when the streams cross like this, but I'm so glad you all like the story! The non-robot parts draw fairly heavily on my real job, so it was fun to include those details.
posted by nonasuch at 6:58 PM on August 28, 2020 [15 favorites]

Both of these stories are great! Legal Savage felt like falling into something warm and comfortable. I wanted more! And I have to admit, I kept waiting for something horrible to happen with Kermit so that put me at unease, but it was wonderful and made me tear up just a bit.

Is there more?
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:59 AM on August 29, 2020

I searched around and I do not think Mintzer has a "here are my published works" list anywhere? nonasuch, is there one I have missed?

A few you can read now for free (I haven't read them yet):

"Sleep and Wake", 2011, The Front View (audio version 2012, in PodCastle)

"The Phone Booth", 2012, Daily Science Fiction

"Love, the Mermaids, and You", 2012, Daily Science Fiction

"Dark and Deep", 2012, Intergalactic Medicine Show

And, for sale on Gumroad, a few comics: "I Fought The Law" ("A short YA science fiction story about genetic engineering, teen rebellion, and punk rock.") and "Out of the Ice" which artist Jason Tseng describes: "This queer science fiction retelling of Sleeping Beauty has all the trappings of a futuristic fairytale with cryogenics, lab-grown human children with alien surrogate parents, and of course, true love's kiss."
posted by brainwane at 12:22 PM on August 29, 2020 [5 favorites]

...yeah, you got them all! But if you want my AO3 handle you'll have to memail me.
posted by nonasuch at 6:52 PM on August 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

These are really lovely, nonasuch, thank you so much!
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:12 PM on August 29, 2020

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