Post January 18, 2015, 10:35:05 PM

Selfer by Andrew Hodges

Mr. Hodges opens with an eloquent description of his alien world, Deukel. We are limited to one narrator, part of the greater hive, who does not always distinguish the individual from the group. He identifies the eye of the surveillance camera as if it were a panopticon dystopia. However, two races populate this world; the superior believes it has a utopia.

A native inhabitant, the narrator survives at the mercy of the overseers: “as part of an agreement made years before. With their technology, they could destroy us, yet they allow us to exist peacefully. . . .”
His character development moves from sniveling: “those memories bring me shame,” to whining: “A lifetime of this? I cannot endure the thought!

I might have missed an allusion to another story or legend—something that would suggest what the other Selfers think. I found the narrator so unreliable that I wanted some other character to provide counterpoint to his complaints. The only dialogue is the utterances of the loudspeaker system. The story would be more exciting to me if there were contrasting ideas and goals.

Mr. Hodges uses an abundance of commas, but that doesn’t detract from readability. I like the emotional tone--it sounds like a cry for help. This is a fascinating world and I would like to read more of the conflict between its peoples.