Short story: “Selfies”

by look i have opinions

“Selfies,” by Lavie Tidhar

Appeared on Tor.com on September 17th, 2014; “acquired and edited for Tor.com by consulting editor Ellen Datlow”

2,632 words

This is a simple, old-fashioned scary story, and a fun read. It strikes me as uncharacteristic of Tor.com, whose fiction tends towards more austere, literary pleasures.

I’m sorry to see some commenters interpreting this as a story about the dangers of vanity and insecurity. Maybe that was the author’s intention, but I hope not. The theme of vanity isn’t even very prominent in the story; the character’s compulsive picture-taking never seems like self-glorification or self-decoration or self-criticism or even a means of reinventing herself. The only reason we see vanity here is that we’ve been primed to see it.

I don’t think the main character’s age is specified in the story. The dialogue in the second section implies that she’s been out of school for at least a year, so I’m guessing she’s nineteen. She comes off as much younger, especially when she interacts with the shopkeeper. (She never thought of herself as pretty, but “didn’t give it much thought one way or another”—what a weird, false-sounding thing to say.)

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