Monday, February 6, 2017

Book Review: "Barkley Five Oh: A Science Fiction Short Story" by Logan Keys

Oh, man, this story...

Barkley 50 is a robot built in a not-too-distant future. He is programmed to mimic emotions and although he may not understand what the emotions mean, he starts to recognize how they make him feel. Little by little, he becomes more and more intelligent and perceptive of his surroundings and the behavior of the people around him.

As this story proceeds, Barkley moves from owner to owner, further and further into what appears to be a tremendously bleak future. At times he is a companion, at times a protector, a bodyguard, a friend, but the more he understands of the human race the more he realizes that there is a real risk that humanity may not survive. But what does that mean for him? Will he be left all alone in a world that never quite understood or was ready for him?
The closer I get to humanity, the more I see them for what they are. Scared. Simple. Lazy. Genius. Humans. Messy, nutty, stronger than anything—screwed up, cutting and running, life bringing, humans. Courageous, kind, selfless, magical, passionate, organic, weird, and uncomfortably comfortable, humans...loving...and about to be extinct, humans. Everything I hate, and everything I'm longing to be...human.
Logan Keys' story is moving, heartbreaking, awe-inspiring, thought-provoking, and even a little frightening. Barkley is truly one of the most unforgettable characters I've ever read, and although the length of this story worked so well for what Keys was trying to accomplish, I could have read an entire novel with him as the main character. He's truly the embodiment of nearly every robot-believing-it's-human I've ever seen.

For an author to pack so much emotion, so much suspense, so much plot, and so much meaning into 40 or so pages requires tremendous talent. Keys has that in spades. This is the first thing I've read of hers, but it definitely won't be the last. And Barkley 50 won't leave my mind anytime soon.

The author and Le Chat Publishing provided me a complimentary copy of the story in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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