5 thoughts on ““Our Lady of the Open Road,” by Sarah Pinsker”

  1. I liked this one!
    It’s very clear and immediate; even though not a whole lot is actually going on, it kept me reading and intrigued.

    It’s kind of an "If This Goes On" story, where the "This" going on is the centralization of power, and the use of convenience as a stranglehold over competition and culture alike.

    Scattered Thoughts:

    There’s an idealization of art and of hardship here which could stand some consideration. I think the story’s presenting there being inherent value in nonconformism and rebellion – which seems to go far beyond any specific goal you’re trying to achieve, or a villain you’re trying to fight down.

    I think it’s also significant that the story is focused so entirely on the creators here. Luce rails a lot against the StageHolos, and it’s easy to see how the holos destroy life for creators. But fans – fans get holo-casts of fantastic shows. I think you could make an excellent argument for how the holos would make culture poorer for *everybody*, but it would be much harder to make the issue vivid if you’re talking about the fans, the people the music is *for*, instead of the people making the music.

    What makes the story really work for me, I think, is the richness of little details. The van running on grease; the Moby Dick whale band, the personally annotated Road Atlas… all these cool, clever ideas, which carry resonance and add to the world. The story doesn’t lean too hard on any one of them, which is exactly right. So the world feels really rich and well-thought-out; all these details are unusual, they’re unexpected, and they really work. That’s rare craftsmanship.

    1. I agree with what you say about the little details making it work. As for the value of Luce’s ultimate decision, there’s room to think that hers is not the only right decision; she does admit that the A&R rep has a point about people who would want to hear her. She did what was right for her, but wasn’t conceited enough to think she could speak for everyone. That’s part of her disillusionment; her credo is "It’s a shitty world, I’m doing what I can that seems right, even though I can’t accomplish much, and I hope other people can do what they want, but I’m not blaming them (much) for the choices they make." To her, all choices seem fairly unappealing. But there’s a lot of the world she just doesn’t see during her eternal road trip; who knows if there are sources of hope elsewhere.

  2. I really liked the world building, how smoothly she indicated the nature of the slow apocalypse within the text. Fear if bad reactions to pox scars hinting at some sort of Plague, heightened fear of strangers suggesting some balkanization, culturally if not politically. And increasing isolation., obvious all over. I have never been a passionate fan of live music, but the writing was vivid. And I loved the Moby Dick band, too… The perfect touch if whimsy. I’m really glad I read this.
    I’m LunarG on 770, BTW.

    1. Hi Amy (LunarG), I’m Vasha. I loved this story too. Happens I am a passionate fan of live music, volunteering to help run a weekly concert series; I’ve always thought there’s no feeling like the interaction between musicians and audience. Recordings of the same groups aren’t the same.

      Luce makes such a great narrator in this story, with her terse and accurate observations, weary and disillusioned but still carrying on because she needs to in her bones.

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