An Eligible Boy
by Ian McDonald
An Eligible Boy is a funny and profound story focusing on a key aspect of McDonald's future India: selective abortions leading to a hugely imbalanced gender ratio. A four-to-one male to female proportion that forces many men to make desperate appeals to the few women available for marriage.
Young Jasbir had a cosmetic dental surgery and, advised by his roommate Sujay – who codes Avatars software for the popular soap opera Town and Country – decides to use an A.I. relationship coach to help him in the game of courtship on Shaadi, the world’s biggest wedding agency. Such tradition has become much more complex and difficult since the introduction of Avatars and Data Mining. But that’s just one side of the story, as the A.I.s believe that they are alive and act out the soap opera’s characters as if real; with unexpected results.
Who will find love? And who will lose it all together? Most of all, who will be the perfect match of such Marriage Game upgraded version?
An Eligible Boy, with its slight humor and innovative courtship rituals, explores the new boundaries of love for both human beings and artificial beings.
Ian Neil McDonald was born in 1960 in Manchester, England, to an Irish mother and a Scottish father. He moved with his family to Northern Ireland in 1965. He used to live in a house built in the back garden of C. S. Lewis’s childhood home but has since moved to central Belfast, where he now lives, exploring interests like cats, contemplative religion, bonsai, bicycles, and comic-book collecting. He debuted in 1982 with the short story “The Island of the Dead” in the short-lived British magazine Extro. His first novel, Desolation Road, was published in 1988. Other works include King of Morning, Queen of Day (winner of the Philip K. Dick Award), Brasyl, River of Gods and The Dervish House (both of which won Hugo and BSFA Awards), the graphic novel Kling Klang Klatch and many more. His most recent publications are Planesrunner, Be My Enemy and Empress of the Sun from the Everness series for younger readers (though older readers will find them a ball of fun, as well). His next novel will be set on the Moon and it will be called Lunar.
Ian worked in television development for sixteen years, but is glad to be back to writing fulltime.
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