So check out Turning the Apples , a short story up at Strange Horizons by Tina.

You think it’s a straight forward story about a boy dealing with some kind of future-drug addiction on a strange planet.

And Tina’s ability to use dialect/slang to draw you into a story and make you feel the characters are real is in full force here.

However, it’s not that simple. You see, it turns out that the story isn’t about the boy’s addiction and what he will or will not do in the grip of addiction. It turns out, at least as I read it, that it’s also about selling people. What it might mean to compare people selling themselves for sex with those selling their skills to enslave other people.

It’s about wanting your mommy, wanting that familiar connection, even when you know it’s too late.

Some of the back and forth between memory and present in the beginning made it a little slow for me in the first third, but the ending was very powerful, and worth keeping track of who all the characters and what they each wanted from the boy.

Go read it, and then think about where you might draw the line.