My Year of Short Stories: Dec 14th, And No Torment Shall Touch Them by James Patrick Kelly, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Nov/Dec 2017

A story about a domineering father/grandfather, who, in his last days begins to upload his consciousness to the internet. However, part way through the upload he realized the entity that his consciousness will form will not be an accurate version of who he has become in his late years, a person who is a much better one than who he was as a younger man.

The story follows the lives of people involved with this man’s funeral. His daughter, his grandson, the priest who did the funeral service. Each one has different ideas about what his upload is, means, and can do. Since the uploaded consciousness exists on the internet, it can listen and see through any connected device, giving it something close to omniscience. This terrifies some of the characters and comforts others.

It’s an interesting look at a hashed out idea. Very character driven despite the typical plot heavy concept. I like it for it’s look into how one person can mean so many different things to the people in their lives. While I liked the piece, I thought the conclusion of the piece was not as weighted as it could have been. I didn’t get the implications of what was happening until the end. I think there could have been more foreshadowing of what this man was like before the upload. (C)


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