Megan Lindholm. Old Paint. (Asimovs July 2012).

Excellent story from Lindholm.

She sets the story in the USA about 50 years from now, the protagonist a teen daughter of a strict single mother, who live in social housing along with her brother. The US is in a bit of an economic downturn, but cleverly the story enables us to contrast this with the struggles the mother had in the 2030s. And not only is there the relationship between the girl and her brother and their mother, but also the historic relationship between their mother and her grandfather.

All of this is explored through the death of the estranged grandfather, who leaves, along with a very modest sum of money, a vintage car. Of course the car is hi-tech by our standards, with an impressive AI, but is hardly state of the art to the teens.

Taking the car back to their house, the story explores the impact the car (a station wagon) has on the family, and throws a light on the reliance of AI controlled cars, the various relationships, live and historic, and ends quite happily ever after, up to a point, in a tender and affecting way. Sort of a nod to the Disney/Pixar Toy Story and Cars, with a bit of Wall-E thrown in. And Herbie.

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