This novella is a light and cozy story about an experienced computer guy, Roy, who settles down in smaller town, hoping to just do some small time computer repair stuff for the local community. However, this town already has a local computer expert that everyone trusts, so Roy has a fierce rival from day one.

Analog May/June 2024

We follow Roy as he gets acquainted with the community and how everything IT related is apparently run by one self-taught yet brilliant boy named Jimmy. Roy learns that Jimmy fights him because he wants to protect his peers and not have their jobs replaced by technology. But their feud becomes worse and with the introduction of robots, their fight could start to hurt real people and not just computer systems.

The story is easily readable and flows nicely, though a bit long perhaps. The science fiction element is very slight with some robot technology that could only be few years in the future. I like how the general vibe of the story is filled with good intent despite the feud and it has a bit of a Simak feeling to it.

Read in Analog May/June 2024
Rating: 3