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What We Found: A Tragic Tale About How Mental Illness Can Destroy Families.

Updated on November 4, 2018

What We Found by Geoff Ryman

What We Found by Geoff Ryman

So I am reading a book that is very bland. And as I’m struggling to finish it for review, I realized why am I killing myself? I should read something I enjoy a little bit. So I stepped away from it to read a short story from The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 29. And this story, What We Found by Geoff Ryman was what I read and here is my review.

Now at first glance, seeing the story called, What We Found in a scifi collection is intriguing to start off with. One would think it’s something grand and fantastical. But the title is a bit of a bait and switch. The story starts with a man Terhemba waking up on his wedding day and he dreads the thought of it. He is a scientist who works with the goal of eliminating bad genes and he has a traumatic family history. The story recounts their family’s dealings with mental illness. He watched his father fall apart into absolute insanity as his mother pretended everything was okay. This story is essentially a dramatic the heart.

So the good? This is a fascinating little drama. It explores how mental illness can tear apart a family and what it’s like to have a family member degrade to where they can no longer function. It’s super engaging and there is just so much emotion and heart ache to much of the story. Also the setting and characters are interesting. They are a family of Algerian Christian refugees. So it’s not a run of the mill expected cardboard cutout of a family used in most stories.

The bad? This is not a science fiction. The lead is a scientist who works in genetics but shivers at thought of having children because he doesn’t want them to have mental illness as well. There is a clever message here but it doesn’t really make this a science fiction tale. Science plays no part in this story other than the irony of a geneticist unable to alter his own genes. So I would not call this science fiction. This is nothing but a drama.

Overall, the story is great. It tackles heavy theme in a great way. The characters are realistic and the emotions hit hard. It is really worth the read. If you enjoy drama, this is a must real. It you’re not a drama fan you may enjoy it anyways. It’s a good read.

3 ½ smoothies out of four.

Overall Rating: A Tragic Tale About How Mental Illness Can Destroy Families.

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