Brandon Sanderson
Published date

“Snapshot” by Brandon Sanderson is a short detective/sci-fi story. Anthony Davis is a cop assigned to the Snapshot Duty.

This is another fantastic idea of the author. In the near future, people came up with a way to recreate the specific day in time for the whole city. Police use this for their investigations – to track down the criminals, finding additional clues and so on. The protagonist and his partner are tasked with a simple case, one of their regular duties, but Davis is not satisfied. He saw traces of serious investigation he wasn’t told about, and he decided to follow his gut on it.

I loved the world Sanderson created in this story. The Snapshot is so fascinating because even though it’s just a recreation of what’s already happened, the people living there are real. It means they think they are living through just another day in their life, but at the end of it, they will all disappear. That creates an interesting paradox. Are those people living things or not? If you reveal the truth to them, they could react in so many different and unpredictable ways. And if the cops are the only living people in the Snapshot, can they do whatever they want without consequences?

I’ve read this novella in one sitting, as it’s effortless to follow an inquisitive cop who tries his best despite his obvious flaws and shortcomings. There are also some twists along the way. It keeps things captivating.

The only thing I miss is the explanation of how the Snapshot works exactly. The concept is so intriguing I instantly wanted to know every nitty-gritty detail about it. But as the author explained in the afterword, because it is only a short story, he wanted the focus to be solely on the characters and not on the setting itself.

But I enjoyed “Snapshot” immensely, and I can recommend it to everyone, no matter what book genre is your favourite.