I read this as part of The Time Traveller’s Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.
This short story really got me asking the question “What’s going to happen next?” And I cannot say that I ended it with much sense other than one of foreboding.
If you’ve ever met someone with a very, very big ego, Harman has got to be he. HE. My goodness me. The short story basically covers a televised debate in the run-up to presidential elections, a debate that is somewhat one-sided thanks to a device that can apparently tell how many “Watchers” (their nature isn’t precisely illustrated, possibly Harman himself doesn’t know, but they appear to be some kind of “out of time” entity that watch significant events) are observing a particular person. And Harman is currently garnering all the attention.
I couldn’t convince myself that things would turn out well for Harman. The impression I got was that his policies were more likely to be bulldozer-like in their implementation, and that they were not going to be favourable for the general population. I wonder what gave me that impression…
Harman, as the main character, was definitely not sympathetic. I mentioned a big ego up top, and I meant it. And last time I checked, huge pride tends to come before huge fall….