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2014 Story 33

From Lightspeed Magazine's February issue (#45), edited by John Joseph Adams

33. WATER by Ramen Namm    In a future where almost everyone has to have neural implants to compete in the job market but very few people can afford the surgery on their own, AI's run advertising beamed directly into the implants -- allowing adspace to infiltrate your brain helps defray the costs of the surgery and upkeep. Only a relative handful of people are lucky -- by which I mean rich -- enough to be able to turn the advertising off (or at least decrease it to a more manageable level).  The world Namm has created in this story is intriguing (and apparently ties into the author's novels, which I have not read) although the characters feel a bit one-dimensional: rich corporate exec trying to bed an old (and only middle-class) college girlfriend through the use of the implants and targeted advertising.  But the story takes a turn that made this one of the rare times I'm satisfied with a story that is almost all plot or all character at the expense of the other.

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