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Working in a variety of fields - as a TV host, model, actor and teacher, to name a few, Robbie Reilly (also known as Rye Dano) makes his home in Tokyo, Japan.
S. E. Mann
on July 04, 2010 :
Eleven-year-old Theo has accidentally discovered a prohibited item in a suburban neighborhood in a dystopian future. While adventuring in his neighborhood, Theo acts as a second, a reserve or substitute, or "backup" for his more brave friend Matt, not unlike Guy Montag, who is a backup to Professor Faber in Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451". Theo's other close relationship is with his Grandpa, a character who has an uninterrupted memory. Grandpa remembers the dangerous neighbors Ellen and Richard and how they came to a bad end. Grandpa remembers automobiles, before shuttles replaced them. Grandpa mostly remembers his own career as an educator; a college teacher in a remote past very different from the present. He remembers being able to read without using State-audited electronic equipment, where the written word is never concrete and can always be altered to suite the State's Orwellian purposes. Grandpa is fed up with text that changes and not being able to drive his own car. Grandpa has had it.
After Theo's Grandpa bestows the taboo item to Theo, he gives him special instructions in a plastic envelope on what to do with the item. In this way, Theo becomes the backup to his Grandpa and a continuation of his intact memory.
"Backup" is not any cautionary tale: we are not just warned against the dangers of conformity and censorship; we can see the parallels between this view of the future and our own time with Wikipedia and the Internet. This is an excellent short story, I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction or realistic fables.
Literary review by S.S. Hudgins
(reviewed the day of purchase)