Short story: “Origin”

by look i have opinions

“Origin,” by Ari Goelman

Appeared in Strange Horizons on August 17th, 2009 (here); featured in episode 349 of Escape Pod on June 14th, 2012 (read and listen here)

5,583 words

I enjoyed this a lot, especially Dr. U, who’s a great comic-relief supervillain and even sort of touching. The ending disappointed me though. I hate when a story implies that an unplanned pregnancy (and love, don’t forget love) can turn a flaky boyfriend into a good father. I’m okay with superpowered flight and entropy reversal and stem-cell-based killer robots, but there are limits to suspension of disbelief. Plus, I imagine very few people make stupid life decisions based on a misguided belief in killer robots.

This story fails the Bechdel Test, in case anyone was wondering. Which raises the interesting question of what happened to Margaret’s mother, who’s never mentioned in the story. I don’t think Margaret’s own origin story was mentioned, either. Those are both really odd omissions, though I didn’t notice them till afterwards.