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The Real You TM (Short Review)

The Real You TM focuses on a new beauty breakthrough that doesn’t seem too far away. The story leaves you interested and mildly horrified at a future where replacing your face with a lifeless, hologram-like blank slate is desirable. Tanzer writes in an approachable style, taking us in-depth with the main character and the many poor life choices she made to get to this point. 


Molly Tanzer
Lightspeed Magazine, October 2018 Issue


While the story revolves around this strange, face-altering injection that supposedly makes you look younger by erasing most of your face, the deeper focus is on what makes the real you. At the beginning of the story, our main character sees a person purely in how they look, equating a youthful face with happiness. She seems to envy the drug’s ability to mask emotions. When she finally goes through with it, it’s for all the wrong reasons. At first, she seems to enjoy the looks and the random hookups, but the final encounter with her ex really hits the main point home. He recognizes her for her, potentially for the many small details that each person exhibits but doesn’t see themselves. It’s not just the face — it’s the whole person.

The conversation about beauty and the lengths our society will go to make a buck is dead-on in the story. It’s a terrifying product, at least to me, and they are preying on people who aren’t in a great emotional state, who are trying to hide themselves from the world with a new face. Obviously, replacing your face doesn’t just wipe the slate clean and, instead of real problems being solved, they’re met with a sense of lost identity.

As a science fiction concept, it’s an interesting take on the cosmetic industry and a possible evolution of their more questionable products.


Science Fiction, Future, Cosmetics, Technology

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  • Interested in more short story reviews? Read them here.
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