Reviews: Analog Science Fiction & Fact

Here’s Looking at You, Cud (Analog Shorts)

There’s just something about Here’s Looking at You, Cud that I really loved. The author takes the tropes from movies like Casablanca and plays them out masterfully in a future setting. When the drama is over beef, it adds a comical aspect to the story, while still keeping that heartache and deep reminiscence alive.

HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU, CUD

M. Bennardo
Analog Science Fiction & Fact, July/August 2018

Spoiler

STORY

Here’s Looking at You, Cud is a gumshoe tale set in the future. I love the concept of taking an old-school movie plot and placing into such an artificial world. As far as the story goes, it feel familiar in its cadence. The seasoned detective assigned to go undercover against an old flame. The confidence of the chase. The loss of willpower at the sight of his former lover. The reluctance to go through with it. Even the mysterious whisper in the ear from the lover. It’s completely on point with the form.


CHARACTERS

The main character is definitely Ingrid Bergman in the story, heading back to the lover he left unexpectedly. Trying to act like nothing has changed. Reneging at the last minute on what he’s supposed to do because the old feelings come back. He identifies with this woman because they’re part of the real people, the generation fading into the background, being replaced by the young people with their false faces and light-up tattoos. The narration and dialogue are done expertly, creating this believable, relatable character who realizes his past mistakes but can’t go back to fix them.


SETTING

The world of Here’s Looking at You, Cud is the result of massive environmental changes that have inspired a cattle ban and a requirement to re-use water. It’s on the cusp of becoming a faux future, with emphasis made on ‘holo-skins’ — fake bodies used by younger generations. You can see the turnover between young and old on the horizon, skipping from the real people who know real beef to the fake younger generation who doesn’t know any better. I’m fascinated at the author’s ability to convey so much about a world through a story about beef. Brilliant.


CONCEPTS

Future, Environmental, Detective, Gumshoe, Technology

Interested in more short stories like Here’s Looking at You, Cud? Check out our short story reviews here.

Photo by adam morse on Unsplash

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