Rachel K. Jones. Charlotte Incorporated. (Lightspeed Magazine #69, Feb 2016)

lightspeed69Online to read and to listen to here.

A disturbing look at a near-future world of haves and have-nots. The ‘haves’ in question are bodies, corpi. If you have one, you lead the normal human life. If you don’t, your grey matter is held in a dome full of nutrients, on a mobile stand. (If you’re lucky, that is).

The protagonist dreams of one day being ‘incorporated’, having a body that she will call Charlotte. However, when the opportunity occurs, the nature of the body that she is about to be implanted gives her second thoughts.

It’s a little tricky to engage the suspension of disbelief with regard to brains being able to be lifted in and out of cranial spaces, and being able to live outside of them, as described. And there’s lots of questions about where the unincorporated come from. It’s now exackerlly 40 years since Asimov’s ‘Bicentennial Man’, and I’m not entirely sure this story really does much to take forward the issue of wishing to be human.

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