Thursday, April 9, 2015

We Are the Cloud, by Sam J. Miller

We Are the Cloud is another Nebula nominated novelette this year, a story of the sort that gets the Sad and Rabid Puppies foaming.  Because as SF it's a bit ordinary.  The technological speculation figures in the story, but isn't the real point.  And it's a bromance.

Our protagonist is a gentle giant living in a group home for kids taken from their families.  The speculative driver is that ISP's have figured out how to use the human brain as chip and storage, and one can rent out processing.  The protagonist is able to dip into the data stream passing through him--which makes him more of an outcast.  And, he's gay and knows it, but is repressing it until he meets Case, and falls for him.

So boy meets boy, boy loses boy--this is not a novel so there's no third act.  The focus of the story is an exploration of the interior life of the protagonist, and as those go it's pretty good.  And the thing is, you just can't set a romance in a boys' group home unless it's between boys, so having this space now open for SF means it's an automatic creative front.  Our Sad Puppies and their sad friends have not figured out that SF is important as outsider fiction, and now is the time for exploring these new outsiders that were formerly so outside it was difficult to accept fiction about them at all.  3 stars.

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