Sunday Shorts—A Good Home, by Karin Lowachee

coverOh wow, how I loved this story. The perfect way to open People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction, “A Good Home” weaves a few key elements into a single narrative, and does it freaking flawlessly.

First? We’ve got a PTSD suffering soldier (an android, which is a key component of the story: that we created soldiers capable of enough emotional awareness to be soldiers, but the fallout is they can end up emotionally damaged, just like us). Second? We’ve got another veteran, a disabled one, who is living alone and who offers to take in the android and try to help with the rehabilitation—or at the very least, offer care and something better than what those who created the android can deliver. Third? We’ve got a family relationship that’s strained at best: the soldier’s mother, who refuses to see her child’s reality, presumes to know what’s better. Fourth? Everyone else—the neighbourhood, the kids, the world around the android and the veteran, both of whom have to navigate the stigma pushed on them for just existing. Each piece is handled with such a deft, understated touch, which just gave the emotional moments all the more punch. There is a scene with Scrabble tiles that had me pausing to inhale sharply.

Those four threads weave into a story that had me from start to finish, and the end result was a tale that made me put down the collection for the rest of the evening to just consider how amazingly well all those pieces were juggled.

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