Sunday, July 3, 2016

REVIEW: Falling for Q46F (e-short story) by Jason Werbeloff

"Falling for Q46F" is a zombie apocalypse story. It's only 3,740 words long, and it's available for free via Smashwords.

I've opted not to include any read-alikes for this.


This got on my radar after a couple people I follow on Booklikes reviewed it. It being free gave me the additional push I needed to download it.

"Falling for Q46F" begins with this sentence: “As I do every night, I feed the bunker wall, sing to the dining table in F major, and put the fridge to sleep.”

It sounds poetic, but then the main character, Q46F, mentions that the wall is made of human heads, that the table will eat itself if it isn't sung to, and that the fridge is powered by human lungs. The zombie apocalypse has come, and the only building materials that zombies are guaranteed to not try to chew through are their own bodies (a quibble: wouldn't that mean that the dining table would be just fine?).

Q46F is a lonely android that has been on its own since its creator died over 27 years ago. All it can do is follow its dead master's instructions: maintain the bunker and monitor the radio for signals from survivors. Every day is the same, until one day Q46F receives a message.

The world, with everything built out of zombie parts, was different from anything I've seen in other zombie apocalypse stories, although I had questions. Would there have been anything left to feed to the wall after so many years, especially since Q46F didn't go exploring? Considering that so much of Q46F's programming demanded that it stay in the bunker, why didn't it ask more questions when it first received the message?

I didn't really like the way Werbeloff structured Q46F's thoughts. There was a lot of “I am not... But I [am this thing that I supposedly am not]” and similar sentences. For example:
“I am not a jumpy android. I was not programmed to be jumpy. But I imagine that right now I am jumpy.” (8)

“I am not an insecure android. I cannot feel discomfort. But I imagine that I am uncomfortable.” (9)

“I am not programmed to use expletives. But I think one now.” (9)
There are a few more, but you get the idea.

The story as a whole was interesting and kept my attention, but I wasn't a fan of the ending. Werbeloff has a few other freebies and cheap works, but I don't know that I'll be checking them out.

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