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Short story – “The Pure Product” by John Kessel

First published in the March 1986 issue of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. I read it in the collection The Legend Book of Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois and published in 1991.

I enjoyed this. But I don’t know why. The protagonist is unnamed, although he uses several names through the story. He may be from the future, is immortal, or that is suggested, there are others like him. He travels through America committing apparently senseless murders and other crimes, but doesn’t seem to be handling it very well. The story is compelling, very well written, and you are pulled through it by a desire to know who or what he is. Perhaps he is a librarian from Toronto called Gerald Spotsworth.

I very much want to read more John Kessel after reading this story.

It has shown me that it is okay to be daring in your writing, and to take risks.

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