Boxes • 2015 • Near SF short story by Nick Harkaway


Tanya and Teddy are an elder pair who signed up for a monitoring service enhanced by the titular Boxes – cyberorganic systems which enhance brain functionality. When Teddy dies, Tanya finds an afterglow of his life in his Box. She is turn to pieces when the company comes to collect his Box.


The story was quite interesting because I’m reading the author’s „Gone-away world“ at the same time, and found that it has a totally different style and tone. Where the novel is tongue-in-the-cheek, wordy, and gets bogged down in details, the short story is emotional and focused.

It starts with a frame story involving a pair of company employees who somehow mirror the elder pair’s devotion. I loved the emotional aspect of the story but didn’t like the technical part: I don’t believe that dedicated computer systems will be used in a near future, stuff like that will probably be handled in the Cloud. But that is nothing you can embrace physically – which the author needed for his story.

Meta: ISFDB. First published 2015 in Twelve Tomorrows 2015.


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