Skinner BoxSkinner Box by Carole Johnstone
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

If the reward is big enough, wanted or needed enough, a rat will endure pain past the point of recovery. Of sense. And that’s obvious why too. All life, after all, is just pushing levers and hoping.

2020: i am back on the tor train!!

this one was up-and-down for me. first things first: i know it’s de rigueur to make with the content warnings, like the one right before this story—Content warning for fictional depictions of sexual content, including abuse and assault, but i could have done with a warning about how looooong this story was. something like: if you are reading this story to take a break from the work you are meant to be doing but are writer’s blocked on, be aware that it will be a longer break than you’ve earned and will make you feel even guiltier for having taken the break in the first place, even though you will be fulfilling your vow about reading a tor short per week and at least that part of your constant guilt-tornado will be lessened.

anyway. you all know i’m not a science fiction girl, so the parts of this that were all ‘nanite this’ and ‘beep boop that’ made my brain go fly a kite, as did the kissy parts. the rest of it was great. i liked the psychological aspects and the setup, and even though i predicted a lot of it, it’s like the story says:

My mother used to say that it was the journey that was important, and not the destination. I never thought she was right. But the suits from Astro Labs do. And I might be flattered by Mas’s interest in my research, but that’s only ego, my ridiculous need for him to see me. In reality, it’s all just busywork. No different to Don’s biotech experiments or Mas running his endless simulations. Our work is not the mission. The destination is not the mission. My mission. I’ve always known that.

MY mission isn’t ‘to get to the end of a book and find out what happens,’ so much as it is ‘to read a book and enjoy it,’ so if i figure out a thing or two before the author planned on sharing that thing or two, it’s no big deal as long as i’m having a good time on my journey. and i was, except for the to-be-expected genre standards that always make my brain fizz, which reaction is absolutely a me-problem and not a story-flaw.

overall, it’s a really good story—dark and complex, with a nice thunderclap of an ending. carve out some time.

read it for yourself here:…

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