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The Beancounter’s Cat: A Scatterbrained Mess of a Tale
A Scatterbrained Mess of a Tale
The Beancounter’s Cat By Damian Broderick
As I remain in scifi land I thought I would continue to read from the 29th edition of The Year’s Best Science Fiction because the stories have been very enjoyable so far. So why stop reading something good? The short story being reviewed this time around is The Bean Counter’s Cat by Damian Broderick.
The tale focuses on Bonida. She is a woman who lives in a city that for some reason appears to be within the Earth. She is a bean counter. Despite the mundane name her job is to punish those who cannot make payments to the government by performing terrible acts such as cutting off fingers. In this society she was chosen for the job and there’s no way out of it. This had led to life of loneliness in the slums. She begins to feed an old mangy alley cat and one day it speaks to her. Overwhelmed she quickly let the cat become her fiend. Then well, let’s just say the story goes off the rails from there.
The bad? The story had a decent set up. Immediately after the cat first talked, I thought this could as interesting take on the surrealism of insanity or it could lead to a great fantasy. But the story immediately starts suffering from a seizure instead. It is revealed by the cat that her father was a robot. Then before the reader could even process that, the author refuses to elaborate and jumps ahead to who knows when and where. Then comes anti-gravity chambers, gods, father time, and other worlds. The story moves too fast at break neck pace with too little detail. And while all of this was happening, I would go back and keep rereading to see if I missed something so it would all make sense. This is the first story I read in a long time that was actually frustrating to read.
The good? This is a seven page story. And the first three pages are a good setup with tons of potential. And with a little organization and a lot of fleshing out of the ideas that the author wanted to show, it could met all those goals and been something great.
Overall, this story is a huge mess. Its bonkers and the lacking of detail and incredible fast pace makes it incredibly hard, if not impossible to follow That is what I got from this and I’m not sure why it’s in a best of scifi collection. That is just baffling to me. So I cannot recommend this to anyone.
1 Smoothie Out Of Four