Oh, wow, so this is why teens like surreal fiction: it helps them learn.
According to research by psychologists at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the University of British Columbia, exposure to the surrealism in, say, a book by Franz Kafka or a film by director David Lynch enhances the cognitive mechanisms that oversee implicit learning functions [Psychological Science, 20(9): 1125-1131].
It all makes sense now--why I bothered to read Naked Lunch and Kafka when I was 15, loved Anna Kavan's Ice at 19, was stunned by 'experimental' sf at 20 but suddenly dug my heels in at 26 and said, Enough of that weird shit! Interesting. (Many thanks to Karina for the link.)
Clearly, I don't need assistance to learn anymore, because I'm so, y'know, awesome. Which reminds me, the "It Takes Two" awesome quotient gets better and better. Here are some review snippets from Locus:
Rich Horton says:
“It Takes Two”, by Nicola Griffith, is more explicitly based on SFnal extrapolation. Richard and Cody are friends, their friendship unencumbered by the burden of sexual expectations, as they are each gay. They each work in tech industries, until Richard takes a more academic job – and convinces Cody to act as a guinea pig for a new product. A bit later we meet her trying to land a major contract that will make her career, and part of that involves being “one of the guys” at a strip club. Which all unexpected leads to a great night with one of the strippers … Wonderful, right? Until Richard springs his secret. Solid near future biological/neurological extrapolation, with a thoughtful and moving meditation on the nature of love to ground it.
Adrienne Martini says:
When set between diamonds like Maureen McHugh’s “Useless Things” and Nicola Griffith’s “ It Takes Two,” even the best stories read like cubic zirconia.
And Gary K. Wolfe
...And the stories that are as close as we get to hard SF also come from unexpected
quarters: Nicola Griffith’s powerfully erotic “It Takes Two”—another of the strongest tales here—resolves into an SF scenario in a thoroughly unexpected yet credible way [...] it’s a delight to discover a comparatively rare new story by Molly Gloss or Nicola Griffith
Get used to me crowing about the most minute praise for this story. I don't publish short fiction often and have to get my jollies when I can.