A few years ago I saw a lecture online in which some big-time technology professional envisioned a [chilling, to me] future in which things like e-book reading or targeted advertising might allow viewers to earn points towards purchases. I don't know whether Craig A. Falconer has ever come across that same lecture, but this excellent short story basically expands upon a similar idea. Falconer crams a hell of a lot of big ideas into a deceptively simple tale, with surprisingly realistic characters.
My only real quibble is that there are a few bits of unconscious sexism. I'm not bothered that the Funscreen targets consumers in gendered ways -- that can be read as an on-point critique of how our own real-world advertising does the same -- but I am bothered about wives being depicted as naggers, in general. A quick rethink of that aspect, and this would have been a 5-star read.
(review of free book)