I knew that Ferrett Steinmetz had been working on his fiction-- I checked in on The Watchtower of Destruction now and then. However, I didn't realize he'd become pretty good.
I'd followed a link to iTime at some point, but I bounced because the stereotyping in the first paragraph was a little much, maybe even a lot much.
The story really is a stereotype dance (a phrase I came up with after doing a close reading of Heinlein's "Magic, Inc.". Honest to god, putting one's hair in a bun is not a hard-wired reaction to aging for women.
Still, it's intelligent and affecting, and it doesn't quite use the same premise as Lafferty's "The Six Fingers of Time", a story Ferrett may not have read, and which kept nagging at me until I realized it was about being able to speed up time for oneself and do research or whatever, rather than going back.
Being seen as stupid really does hurt people, just as being seen as plain does.
I'm used to sf about new devices where the plot is driven by "how can this go miserably wrong?"-- I'm wondering what sensible use of being able to go back 4 hours and start a new time branch look like? (The ethical questions if it isn't a time branch-- whatever anyone else did during those 4 hours are wiped out-- aren't addressed, but it wouldn't fit in the story.) Or what a world where iTimes were in common use would look like. The ability to do research would be somewhat improved, and the incentives for anti-aging research would be more obvious.
Just realized that you might be able to get a different disaster mode from thinking about Asimov's The End of Eternity-- you go polish, polish, polish, but you're optimizing the wrong thing.
Ferrett went to Clarion, his fiction is solid, yay Ferrett!
Link thanks to andrewducker.
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