“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander
Card picked: 3♦
From: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 57, Feb. 2015 Note: there is a bit of adult language in this story.
I was going to post for week 44 & 45 together, but the stories are so different. Sometimes the magic of Deal Me In is that there isn’t any happy coincidence of matching stories.
I haven’t seen Blade Runner 2049 yet despite it being directed by Denis Villeneuve and shot by Roger Deakins, both personal favorites of mine. Mostly, this is probably because movies are a bit expensive these days. 1994 Katherine might have seen it twice by now since she could catch a student-priced matinee for $3.25. Until the movie shows up on Netflix, I’ll just have to reread “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead.”
In reality, this story is a bit of a mashup between Blade Runner and The Matrix, all enveloped in cloak of pulpy noir. Rhye is a skin-job, a created human, who has been discarded. Her world is full of violence, from the contests she wins (sometimes) to the jobs to be hired muscle. The only soft spot in her world is Rack, a hacker who somewhat elevates her selection of jobs.
As with any good noir heist, this is a job gone wrong. Rack is shot, but his consciousness lives on within Rhye’s head. The only way Rhye can survive the situation she’s in is to disable, within a virtual/real world Rack’s security protocols (based on Rhye herself) and rescue/download a mobster’s adopted skin-job son.
Does it all entirely make sense? Not really, but it does hold within its own internal consistency.