Suzanne Palmer. The Ceiling is Sky. (Interzone #234, May-June 2011).

A claustrophobic future, in which short-term contract engineers living in cramped subterranean quarters, dream of a permanent position and job security before they become too old and unproductive, when the euthanise button in their cell-like accommodation will become the only option.

Phill gets an interview for a job contract, that promises tenure, and finds himself supported by a mysterious monk. It transpires that the monk is one of a community which wishes the contract for which Phill is seeking employment, to fail.

Relying on his own knowledge and cunning, with this external help, Phill has to get through the recruitment process whilst also dealing with an ex-lover. There’s a dramatic denouement, and Phill is able to find a way forward outside, rather than within, the system.

The story trots along quickly, offering some ethical issues to give depth to the story.

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