For this week, Torque Control short story club refrains from giving us a monster story for Halloween, instead suggesting you read the relatively sentimental “My Father’s Singularity,” by Brenda Cooper.
Paul’s father is always telling him that he will live to see the Singularity and become something his father can’t understand. When Paul goes to the city for an education and a job to support his father and the family farm, we watch him grow up and his father age. We also see technology continue to change the world, so seamlessly that Paul seems to take it all for granted.
Perhaps because so much of the story is told in summary, I had trouble rousing much interest in Paul. He studies, he works, he takes care of his father, but he never seems to experience his own life. He seems to lack enough self-awareness to realize how much he is affected. To the very end, Paul insists that he hasn’t changed, but his father is right: he went forward and left his father behind.
The payoff moment comes when his father crosses a singularity of his own. All the technology at Paul’s command can’t undo the effects of age. While the situation is poignant, the tone of the story is restrained, as if it were asking permission to tug on my heartstrings.
It’s all right. You can tug.