Sunday, May 22, 2016

Unreeled, by Mercurio D. Rivera

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(SF Horror) EncelaCorp "streams" the consciousness of explorers to distant parts of the galaxy. Jonathan worries that the experience may have changed his wife somehow. (5,193 words; Time: 17m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Award-Worthy
Recommended By: SFRevu:4 GDozois:4

"Unreeled," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 06|16, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

The story rachets up the tension in nice, even increments. First we gets hints something is wrong (why do they quarantine the streamers?) Then we see how Viv is subtly different from before, but we're not sure whether to take Jonathan seriously, especially after the chat with the psychologist. Anna's revelations make us take it seriously, and then from Stevie's behavior we realize it's contagious. And that the psychologist is infected too. And maybe Jonathan himself is infected and doesn't quite realize it yet.

And adding just one extra touch of creep factor, we can't entirely rule out the possibility that Jonathan is the delusional one and that we're just witnessing the events that lead up to his suicide.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 06|16)
Mercurio D. Rivera Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I rate it ★★★, two less than RSR. It's a well-written psychological thriller with pacing that builds tension nicely, but I just didn't find the personality changes chilling. Maybe I'm too pragmatic, but given the problems between Jonathan and Viv before her mission, I think I would take the glass-is-half-full view of the more likeable Viv and see where it goes before going into "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" panic.

  2. 4-stars from me, but I agree with Eric's comments. I just found it hard to sympathise with Jonathan when he was complaining about his marriage.

    Very "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" type story, but well done and fast-moving. I didn't find it creepy.

    I am going to assume some people catch this thing easier than others.