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Thursday, February 29, 2024

"Growing up in Edge City" by Frederik Pohl

Originally appeared in Roger Elwood and Robert Silverberg's Epoch. It was up for a Nebula. James Frankel considered it one of Pohl's best, collected it in Platinum Pohl.


In a highly regimented yet protective mechanical society, a young man routinely hides his location from his proctors and goes off exploring Edge City. There he meets Dropouts, people like his parents who somehow were unfit for society.


Whoa, Nelly. This one is fire. Definitely, experimental in style--these solid chunks of text that give us insight into this isolated mind that one expects to be influenced in one direction--toward a sensitive feeling toward people who had been kind to him--but instead he lies about having met them and when he is older and in power, is driven to attack the people who had invited him to live with them and be loved. This is paradoxically moving and excruciating. The style is so uniquely tied to everything about the story. Brilliant. Not one of the greatest of the greats, but well worth the time.

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