Coincidence, backstabbing, obligation, tradition, and tech support
October 27, 2020 6:37 PM   Subscribe

Four scifi stories about jobs, loyalty, and navigating difficult politics and priorities. In the happiest of the four, "Happenstance" by Fran Wilde (2017), an engineer of serendipity has to subvert residents' expectations and a skeevy executive's plans. "Sweet Marrow" by Vajra Chandrasekera (2016) (audio) portrays the fraught relationship between a journalist and a government worker in a turbulent time. "Exile’s End" by Carolyn Ives Gilman (August 2020) is "a complex, sometimes uncomfortable examination of artifact repatriation and cultural appropriation." And in "Thank You For Your Patience" by Rebecca Campbell (March 2020), Mark's stuck doing tech support while the world slow-motion falls apart outside.
posted by brainwane (4 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
"Thank You for Your Patience" is a doozy
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:35 AM on October 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yes, because it's about an inch away from what working stiffs are already being put through. Like all good horror, the fright is because it's so familiar.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:04 AM on October 28, 2020

I think I worked for Westermorgan.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:21 AM on October 28, 2020

Rebecca Campbell partially based the story on her partner's work in a call centre. I also appreciated this from her post:
Re-reading the story I’m surprised to see feelings I am now intimately familiar with: a slow-moving disaster traveling inexorably toward us; total helplessness; a combination of loneliness and intimacy that comes with hearing voices from far away. I think, though, this has a speck of hope in its ending– not that the disaster can be averted, but that we can help one another across those distances.
Also, thank you Rebecca Campbell for keeping an easy-to-read, chronological, updated list of published short fiction on your site, with links to where we can read it if it's free to read online!! (I deeply wish all short fiction authors would do this, and not all do.)
posted by brainwane at 8:46 AM on October 28, 2020

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