Hmm. What to say, what to say. Sometimes, I try to come up with some clever play on the title of a work to get my reviews started. Something witty and charming which will set the tone for the review and give it a finished feeling towards the end. Jason’s Sizemore’s Irredeemable allows for no such turn of phrase or flip in rhetoric. Indeed, if the definition of the term means “unable to be saved, improved or corrected” (I Google therefore I know) then the only way the work can match its name is to say that there is no need for it to be saved, improved or corrected. Perhaps the title fits perfectly.
If the work itself stands without need of redemption, the characters that populate its pages are another story entirely. 18 other stories to be precise, and each of them are, in their own unique way, exactly as the title suggests. I think I’ll tell you about my three favorite pieces within the collection and then perhaps have some kind of conclusion worked up at the end. We shall see.
#3 City Hall –
For some reason, this story kept coming back to me. I found myself comparing each new story I read with this one. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just give you the premise. Essentially, a man named Alton gets into an elevator with some of his associates at work. It’s a tight squeeze and two passengers, who he does not recognize, recommend that he step off. He doesn’t. Things start to go bad . . .
I found the relationship between the two unknown passengers and the main character Alton to be very thought provoking. The man (James) and the woman (Rebecca) are both seemingly attractive and well groomed. The other passengers are decidedly not. Clearly, Rebecca & James do not belong on this elevator or perhaps even in the same building as Alton’s co-workers but there they are. Alton has some qualities that would put him right at home with his co-workers on the elevator but also some that might excuse him their fate. In the end we’re not sure whether he was meant to be there or not, although it is implied that perhaps it doesn’t matter.
Finally, whenever I meet characters like James and Rebecca I can’t help but think of the Rolling Stones’ song Sympathy for the Devil. These two characters certainly seem to match a similar theme (Devil as refined Gentleman or Lady?) and I always enjoy this when I see it. Plus, James is wearing pinstripe and I love pinstripe!
#2 Plug and Play –
As with the last story, Plug and Play is all about the end so I’ll try to tell you what I enjoyed about it without giving away that end. First and foremost, I think I enjoyed the ‘world’ in which the story takes place. We begin on an satellite or some other object orbiting the Earth. The main character works writing software and apparently needs some motivation. His supervisor is an android and seems to have a textbook solution to everything. An employee does X and the android’s programming spits out Y to resolve the conflict in the way that is most efficient, and best for the company. However, our main code monkey gets drunk, and then gets involved in some activities (drug trafficking mostly) which are quite outside the scope of our android’s programming 😉
I think there is really a lot to think about here in terms of business and the human condition. For me it was interesting to see the Android in a managerial position. Typically this is considered the ‘cognitive’ stuff that only people are supposed to be able to do. Also, the idea of robots is that they are supposed to do all of the mundane, laborious work (in this case coding). However, Plug and Play posits a world in which it is instead the human who accomplishes these tasks and the android who oversees him. Very interesting.
The motives within the story, while perhaps a bit dark thematically, are quite hilariously written and the world in which they exist is as thought provoking as it is humorous. A+’s all around.
#1 Mr. Templar –
This story was the one I enjoyed the most and I feel a bit awful because I don’t have very much that is ‘literary’ to say about it. I simply love Robots! Our main bucket-0-bolts is called Mr. Templar. He’s just trying to make his way on a desecrated earth. You know, find some android-grade petroleum to keep the gears spinning and the circuits firing for just another day, week, year etc. He meets up with another android who’s in worse shape than himself and decides (after a little bargaining on the other droid’s part) to rescue him and go on an adventure to find the creators (humans). I won’t give away the ending but it’s a bit emotional. That is all.
In all, I highly recommend Jason Sizemore’s Irredeemable. The three stories mentioned above are the stories I enjoyed most, but there are 15 other stories that are equally as good and totally different. Just go and get it already. I think if I try to continue any longer these sentences will get less and less coherent. What you need to know is that it’s a great collection and you should absolutely read it.
If anyone out there has already read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. Or even if you haven’t read it, still comment your thoughts anyway. Goodbye for now . . .