“In a future where everyone wears an avatar and the internet connects to your brain, cyber bullying has reached a whole new level – and one victim has reached her breaking point. This thought-provoking short story by Writers of the Future award winner Laura Bradley Rede is a must for fans of YA science fiction and dystopian. This edition includes discussion questions and links to bullying-prevention resources for use in book groups and in the classroom.” (description from Goodreads)
As can be found in the description, this story’s main theme is bullying. What caught my eye was that it’s a sci-fi story as well. That was a fun combination because it showed that it really doesn’t matter what the time period or society in question is, bullying is always an issue.
Even in the world of Smacking Back, where information can be fed directly into someone’s brain, there are people who feel the need to take advantage of others just so they can get away with not doing their work. This is the classic situation of a bully getting the weaker kid to do his/her homework, but with a futuristic flare.
While the bullying is the theme in the forefront, and I feel that it was well executed without being preachy, I also enjoyed the technology that Rede threw into the story. It doesn’t seem far-fetched to think that being so physically connected to the net is in our near future. It also, like many great sci-fi stories, brings up possible issues that could arise with the advance in technology. There are always consequences to go along with the benefits. This works to aid the creation of the bullying situation, as well as hints at the question of what other issues could this future society have through this technology.
This story brings up an issue that’s been around for thousands of years, but one that seems to be a big focus in our culture today when we look to eradicate it. I think that getting into the mind of the victim in this instance gives good insight into the victim mindset. It also leaves the reader questioning the actions of everyone involved, not just the bullies.
You can grab this story from:
Smashwords (free at the moment)
Amazon ($0.99 right now)
After all, a girl can dream.
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