Title: Creation Debt
Author Name & Publisher: Lore Graham (Less Than Three)
Publication Date & Length: Aril 13, 2016 — short story
Radical views sometimes require committing a crime or two. In his biggest move yet to fight for android rights, Derek liberates a group of androids working off their creation debt at a hospital. One of those androids is 141, who is surprisingly reluctant to leave the facility, leaving Derek baffled.
A delay in their escape forces them to take an alternate route to Derek’s base, trapping them on a decrepit spaceship for a week, where they have only each other for company and a divide created by assumptions and wariness—but also an undeniable curiosity.
There’s so much in here to love: A futuristic world with fully sentient androids; a daring freedom operation as part of a takedown of a Big Corporation; a trans hero; an awesome non-binary gender character; and a completely cliched (but done in a great way) forced togetherness leading to love. How could this not be at the top of my list?
It can be a tricky thing to bring humor to a story which is ultimately about freedom–both literal and figurative. But Graham does this so well. 141, the rescued android, is delightful, a good balance for the brash (and very human) Derek.
I don’t really care all that much about sex in a story, but I did like the way these two explored the realities of their bodies and what it meant for them. I also liked that it fell somewhere between instant lust and instant love, but we weren’t treated to a fairy tale “let’s run off together” narrative.
Speaking of which, I sure hope there’s more to this story. It’s perfectly fine with me not to answer all the questions at the end; I can use my own imagination, and that’s just as fun. But I’d really like to know if they ever take out Isaac Ltd.!
This is the right story for someone who enjoys a blend of action, romance, cool science fiction/futuristic society, and a bit of philosophy. Don’t let the gender-neutral pronouns scare you off this one–it’s always good to learn new things.