“you have a message I am unable to read aloud.”
September 29, 2020 3:27 PM   Subscribe

"CARBORUNDORUM > /DEV/NULL" by Annalee Flower Horne is a ten-minutes-into-the-future science fiction short story that works as a feminist Parker Lewis Can't Lose/Ferris Bueller's Day Off homage/critique, and as a cri de coeur on teen girl agency. Thematically related short scifi stories: Claire Humphrey's "Four Steps to the Perfect Smoky Eye" on teen girls and those who restrict them, and Cory Doctorow's "Party Discipline", another celebration of teen girl hackers. [Content warning: rape]
posted by brainwane (11 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Good stuff.
posted by signal at 3:42 PM on September 29, 2020

CW: Rape
posted by umber vowel at 5:20 PM on September 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah this really needed a content warning. Mods could you please add it to the original post? I've had a pretty crappy hour since I read this unprepared.
posted by MiraK at 5:33 PM on September 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Got that added to the post text.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:25 PM on September 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

MiraK, my regrets on the bad time. The Flower Horne story has a content warning at the top:

"Content Note:

This story engages with themes of sexual assault and depicts an attempt."

so I had thought that was sufficient. I flagged your comment to the mods' attention and am glad they added a note to the FPP as well; thanks, cortex.
posted by brainwane at 6:36 PM on September 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

I skipped right past the content note in the story apparently, dohhh. Anyways, I'm good now, just one of those things where I felt nauseous for an hour and then belatedly realized I was still ruminating over the story.

Which was fantastic, btw, so thank you very much for posting it, OP!
posted by MiraK at 7:48 PM on September 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

This was an incredibly well done story, about parental abuse disguised as feminism and protectiveness. Based on the experiences if friends and loved ones, I can predict where the future of the story is going to go: things will get worse, and mother will find some danger to try to prevent her daughter from leaving for college (why not go to community college and live at home instead?) Our heroine will fight of course, and I think, eventually escape. Fortunately she has at least one good savvy friend. I both dread and hope to see more.
posted by happyroach at 1:16 AM on September 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I had a visceral reaction to both of these stories that's hard to articulate - I'm a middle-aged male, no kids, and these stories gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I can't imagine how someone closer to the protagonists would react. :-(
posted by Paladin1138 at 4:36 AM on September 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you'd like to read something much lighter by the same author, Annalee Flower Horne also has a fun little story about a teenage superhero with a much more supportive family, "The Indigo Ace and the High-Low Split" that you can read at the Mothership Zeta site. I quite enjoyed it.

(Or you could read it yesterday. The site seems down at the moment, but the story is available in Google's cache of the site.)
posted by straight at 3:30 PM on September 30, 2020

straight, thanks for the link. Mothership Zeta's website seems to be back up: here's "The Indigo Ace and the High-Low Split" by Annalee Flower Horne, published 2017. Here's their bibliography for more.

I also started thinking the other day about the three different forms of surveillance/restrictions on the three different protagonists. In Doctorow's story, other than "don't wake up my family" concerns, it's all in school/corporate/government rules, economic power, and electronic devices. In Humphrey's, it's a physical device sold by companies and used by parents -- physically connected to a person's body, with fangs like a vampire. And in Flower Horne's story, I don't get the sense anyone has implants or similar, and I think all the electronic stuff is privately bought and run, by parents from corporations -- but our protagonist's mobility disability is part of why others treat her the way they do -- possibly including her mom's overprotectionist behavior.
posted by brainwane at 4:19 AM on October 1, 2020

Also: Humphrey on "Four Steps": "It is strongly rooted in my own experience. In a way, all stories are, but this one has some pretty literal moments." (Scroll down to "Walking Alone".) And: a Ladybusiness review.
posted by brainwane at 4:44 AM on October 5, 2020

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