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The Shape of My Name

by Nino Cipri

Published by Tor.com

Publication date: March 4, 2015

Description, by Lois Tilton [Locus]: "Familial dysfunction exacerbated by time travel. The narrator is nameless throughout most of the text, and this fact lies at the story’s center. He comes from a family whose special heritage is a time machine and a book kept by one member that records their individual histories. Because the book didn’t list him by name, his mother was convinced he wouldn’t be born alive, which undoubtedly contributed to their alienation; the reason for the discrepancy drives the narrative, which is addressed to his mother, who deserted the family, rejecting him and incidentally destroying his beloved father’s life........ The time travel is constantly in the background, informing and directing events, not always for the best—although we can’t say how often this was the case. But foreknowledge here isn’t predestination or predetermination. Individuals are free to choose their fates, regardless of what is written in the book of their history. It’s noteworthy that the keeper of the book knows better than to write in ink. But freedom entails moral responsibility. This is the void at the story’s heart, our missing knowledge of her heart, her motivations, her regrets."

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