The narrator’s (presumed) husband once bought her a one-of-kind diamond ring for 10,000 credits. Every time she throws it into the river behind their house, the CopyCat tries to console her by telling her, “Don’t worry. Nothing is lost. Everything can be found.” Out pops a new ring. With so many copies—flawless as they are—the ring is now worthless.
When he first left, she tore up pictures of him only to have copies come spitting out of the CopyCat.
The ending is nicely ironic. I liked that.
Having said that, I have to admit, there’s a good deal left to be said in this story. What is the purpose of the CopyCat—besides tormenting the narrator? Why would anyone buy such a contraption? Is the ring indeed worthless if all the other copies of it are in the river? How does the CopyCat know what is lost or damaged? How would it know, for example, that the narrator tossed her ring into the river? Why can’t she just turn the machine off, sell it, or trundle it off with the leaving husband?
In my seldom humble opinion, this is not a bad story, but an unfinished one.
According to the blurb, author Kathryn Smith is a writer currently pursuing a master’s in Computational and Data Journalism at Cardiff University. This is her first piece of published flash fiction.
The story can be read here.
Title: “All is Not Lost”
Author: Kathryn Smith
First published: January 4, 2021, Daily Science Fiction