Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson is a Science Fiction Novella that tells a futuristic Neo Noir detective story. I was reminded a lot of a Phillip K. Dick meets George Orwell, especially The Eye, the story Minority report is based on, and 1984. In the near future a computer program can simulate an entire day of the past for every person , police step into this world to gain to find evidence in the real time, but every interaction with someone from the real time causes deviations in the day. This story takes place in the program 10 days before present day. The idea of this story is amazing, with such a short story it has some good twist.
The Plot: Davis and Chaz are detectives in the Snapshot. The Snapshot is the name for the program that can simulate any entire day for every person in the city. The cases aren’t difficult they will watch and document a domestic disturbance, and they will watch where a murder suspect flees to it drops the murder weapon. They can communicate to the real world that is in the same time but different day. The way the program works they have to spend a day there, so they have safe houses to go to if need be. They end one case early and instead of go to the safe house, they explore. Davis still wants to be a detective, where Chaz enjoys the Snapshot. Davis read about an odd event that occurred this day on a conspiracy blog and wants to investigate. They find multiple bodies and a killer that knows how the Snapshot works.
What I Liked: The plot to this story is so good. The idea is cool, Sanderson is known for writing some big books, and this story could easily been expanded. Davis took me a couple pages to figure out but I loved his character, and loved where his story arc went. I liked the idea of the Snapshot, I wanted to know more about it. The twist towards the end of this story are really good, it really reminded me of a Phillip K. Dick twist ending. I loved the reveal on Davis leaving the real life police force, and the reason he turns off the machine each night. I loved use of the deviations and what element to the story they introduced. The badge that shows you this world is not real was a well thought out device.
What I Disliked: It took me a while to visualize the main characters, and it took me longer than it should in a novella to identify with the characters. A slow beginning, there’s a fair bit of exposition in explaining how the Snapshot works, which is interesting but out getting to know the characters on the back burner.
Recommendation: This story was right up my alley, if you’re like me and love mind bending science fiction then this story is for you. It is short and well worth the time reading. I have yet to read a bad Sanderson story, I love Mistborn series and Stormlight Archive series. I rated Snapshot 4 out of 5 stars. I bought it for my kindle for 1.99 and it was well worth it!