I’m of the opinion of the opinion that if a technology or magic system is not integral to the plot, then a piece is likely more effective if it is not written in genre.
This story is one of those. It’s space opera, but at the core, this story is about a detective retrieving or trying to retrieve a man-child who’s run away from home with his sweetheart.
This story could have just as easily been told in the current day, on the current world we live on, but instead, it took place on a fictional planet with a bunch of high tech gadgets that could have been other real gadgets. The character development was lacking and in its place were lengthy explanations about the worlds and the cultures on them.
While the title of the piece may sound philosophical, and I think the piece is certainly meant to be so, this falls short again, as the concept is only brought up twice and not applied with conviction to the situation.
Simply put, there just wasn’t enough thought and interest put into this piece and it relied on aspects of storytelling that could be found in any genre. The most interesting parts of F&SF are those things that can’t be found anywhere else, and sadly this piece missed this. (D)