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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cull by Robert Reed (from Brave New Worlds, 2nd edition)

From Brave New Worlds, 2nd edition,  
edited by John Joseph Adams
(Note:  This anthology originally appeared a few years ago but has been re-released with new stories as the first edition didn't get publicized well enough.)  
On a spaceship  erratic behavior--no matter how small--cannot be tolerated.  Orlando, a boy genius, has hit his sister, just one in a series of crimes.  The father makes excuses, the mother asks for drugs, but drugs dampen performance on a spaceship.  A robot doctor has to decide the boy's fate.  The boy is ready to be culled.  The robot gives the genius boy hope that he has a different destination, a new living world with secret homes on asteroids.

This feels like Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" made logical and necessary if not attempting Jackson's verisimilitude.

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