It is time for another short fiction review and this review is for an odd little story that I had hoped would deliver more than just the bizarre. The story is “Betty and Fred” by Yosef Albric that just seemed to hold some promise even though its premise seemed a little out of the ordinary.
The world was young and there were only one man and one woman in the world: Betty and Fred. Of course, they were not the only ones in the world but all women were Betty and all men were Fred. Unfortunately, Betty and Fred were not happy because they could never please each other no matter how hard they tried. Betty and Fred went on a quest to find happiness amongst the other Betties and Freds of the world and thus they may discover themselves and what it means to be happy while pleasing the other Betties and Freds of the world.
“Betty and Fred” is a satirical look at the singles scene today and is a very difficult story to explain. It is much simpler to read the short story than it is to try and summarize it. In “Betty and Fred,” Albric uses a set-up that has a lot of promise. While it is an entertaining read, “Betty and Fred” never quite lives up to what it could be. A couple of the quips in the story feel a bit contrived and there is too much repetition for my taste (although I could understand what Albric was trying to achieve through the repetition). Albric seems to have a sense of the sarcastic and the bizarre but the story just does not quite make it above the level of interesting. If you are looking for something that is a little different in its take on modern society, then this is a decent way to pass a few minutes.