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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Vicarious View (Science Fiction)

by Brian Barr

Publisher: Brian Barr Books (June 26, 2018)

Softcover, 42 pages

“Please don’t pull back on our deal, Tanaka, Nishiyoka thought, hoping his plea would leak through those metal receptors that extended from the hardware lodged into Tanaka’s brain, the small computer that allowed Nishiyoka to experience life through his host. I waited months just for the program to pick a viable candidate. What a life you lead. The exhilarating work of acting. The money. The women. Even my own life, born into wealth, was never like yours. I never lived the kind of life worth living. The days before and after my cancer were pathetic and miserable. You give me hope. You allow me to live again. You give me the space to be free and live as a true person… not just some log in a hospital bed.”
A short story of the highest caliber, set in the most underused (in my humble opinion) categories of science fiction, cyberpunk. A subgenre of science fiction not done well enough and one that seems to be neglected as of late.
In this story, we have a man, Nishiyoka, withering of cancer, but rather than waste what little life he had has his mind linked to a successful actor and lives as much as he can in the other man’s mind. But the actor has problems of his own, in both his love and professional lives. Soon those problems come to take their toll and Tanaka is accidentally swept up in it.
Author Brian Barr
The story asks the simple question (with no answer given, like all great literature) about the quality of life. -Nishiyoka, along with his wife who is simply a brain in a jar, have been robbed of all the pleasures of life. But is their vicarious existence actual living? Is it a life worth having. From a modern day perspective, it is similar to a person who spends nearly all their time playing video games or watch movies. Is that the life you want? Living through others achievements.
For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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