Short Take: “Randomize,” Andy Weir

Pros: Wonderful matching of wits
Cons: Very “talky”
Rating: 4 out of 5

Andy Weir’s short story (I’m not sure it’s even long enough to be termed a novella) Randomize (Forward collection) is about a futuristic casino heist. The first quantum computer is about to hit the market, and Nick Chen, in charge of IT for the Babylon Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, knows their Keno game will get cleaned out once it does. He manages to convince his boss to let him get a quantum computer as well, and set up a true random number generator that can’t be hacked. But as it turns out, quantum computers provide new and interesting ways to hack and be hacked!

I can’t get too into detail here given how short the story is. I’ll just say that it’s very “talky,” almost entirely made up of people asking how things work and having it explained to them. On the other hand, since the story’s so short, this doesn’t go on so long as to be overly obnoxious. It also suits the thief’s personality that the heist had no physically demanding or violent aspects to it. The intrigue is in seeing whether and how the heist will work, and… no, never mind, that would involve spoilers. Let’s just say it’s a clever little story and leave it at that.

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