Sweet Tooth by Matthew A. Clarke
Candy feels something is missing. A chance opportunity arrives and Candy falls for the ….spoilers… fuck that … read this fantastic short by Clarke. Loved this idea for a short. I am hoping that this story will continue with an ending that left me wanted more!
If you take a dash of Brave New World, toss in a healthy dose of Bladerunner, and blend it all with a bit of sadism, you'll end up with Sweet Tooth by Matthew A. Clarke. It's a short story that overall feels like a transcript for an episode of Black Mirror. The ultra-wealthy have finally done away with the poor and undesirable, and they've replaced those forgotten and discarded people with Hollows. Hollows are manufactured in bulk to perform the menial tasks and services the ruling class deems beneath them. Candy is such a hollow, designed to be an escort--though not in a sexual sense, as she isn't equipped with the necessary parts. In tribute to the banality of all existence, we first discover Candy is becoming aware beyond her programming because she's unhappy about someone else deciding how her hair should look. Other Candy models are disappearing, and there appears to be a man involved in those disappearances. Our Candy finds herself in the predicament of needing to unravel the mystery behind the missing hollows while maintaining her facade of going along with her base programming. In a sense, this is a truly depressing, dystopian vision of a possible future, extrapolating on the income inequality and class warfare we already experience. More than that, it showcases that no amount of weeding out undesirables based on social status will erase the sort of people who become serial killers today. Those types of people will always find a new group of "less dead" as criminologist Steven Egger refers to the typical victims of serial murderers. Clarke captures that grim reality in this story. Is there a happy ending? Is such a thing even possible in a world like that? You'll have to read the damn story for yourself to find out.
Really enjoyed this short story which explores the notion of humanity and the human experience. Reminded me of Alex Garland and even the master Isaac Asimov.
And cruel. And even though i should have seen it coming, I didn't. All of which pissed me off plenty. Maybe this is what I get for going into most every story blind... I don't know. Anyway, read it for yourself. The measure of a story is if it gets a reaction, and boy did this one!