As I can’t, as yet, put down my thought in a coherent sense, I’ll resort to lists. Please forgive me.
The downsides of the story in my opinion are:
— Large chunks of infodumpy-ness. It’s a short show, with a lot of tell.
— Complicated religious arguments. For someone not versed in religion, or even used to thinking about religion, it can be difficult to follow.
— It made me think!
— Some great ideas.
So, is there too much crowding into this story? Is it actually going anywhere? Or is it suggesting that it all comes round again, no matter how far into the future you go? Human/post-human impulses being what they are, we/they inevitably pursue certain ideas, certain tracks, same thing, different version? Or is he suggesting that no matter how much you try to strip life of meaning in order to survive, in the end you need meaning in order to survive.
And I think that means I like this story, because it engages me intellectually in a way that most of the others so far haven’t. It is making me think about what I believe in. I’m not sure if that is something I actively demand of fiction, or rather, I’ve not been aware in the past that I demand that of fiction (and sometimes, shock, horror, I really do just want to be entertained) but this story seems to be inviting me to take up a discussion.
But I still think it has some structural problems.