Strange Horizons Comments

This page is for comments on Bright Lights by Robert Reed.


I love it when I come to a story with no connection whatsoever to the author, and the story is excellent. This is such a one. I was intrigued by the lure in the SH twitterfeed ("It is immediately apparent who is useful here and who must be sacrificed"), and the story entirely paid off.


Terrific short story! I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Great story: I was wondering if I would have gone: I am guessing I would not have, however!

Robert Reed is a master of the underwritten story, i.e., sometimes he uses the barest minimum of words to tell a story that, on the surface, reads like a dry recitation of facts but is actually an emotionally compelling narrative. "Bright Lights" is, however, too underwritten in the sense that there seems to be no strong emotional hook for the fate of any of the three major characters: the girl/boy, the alien, or the bearded man. Yes, the alien is on a mission but I need to care about somebody in the story to make it meaningful for me. But this is just my personal opinion, mind. Three other readers liked the story as is, so am probably wrong and nit-picking too much.

Briliant. The CAPS were a dead giveaway to something odd. Just what that something was became insignificant once the dialogue progressed. Masterfully tailored. Very nice work, Mr. Reed. Incidentally, I am jealous. I still have an unfinished story brewing on an old laptop somewhere called "After Hours" that deals with a similar theme involving a late-night urgent care center in an aging strip mall. Looks like it can grow mold; you have beat me to the punch, sir.

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