Monday, April 10, 2017

Remote Presence, by Susan Palwick

Read this issue
(Modern Fantasy) Chaplin Win is in trouble for letting an unauthorized ghost talk with hospital patients, and inspectors are coming tomorrow. (9,918 words; Time: 33m)

Rating: ★★★★★ Sensitive, Thoughtful, Heartwarming

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 83, published on .

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

Pro: Masie has got to be the nicest ghost in any ghost story ever. Definitely the most useful one. And yet she’s acting from pure selfishness—the fact that she helps people is purely a side-effect of her need to talk to people.

Win is one of those people who shirks his job when it gets hard to do. Evicting Masie is the right thing to do—even for her—but it’s going to be painful. He’s a type we almost never see in SFF: a religious person whose faith has survived the loss of almost everything he believes in.

Sara and Roxanne aren’t evil people either, and big points to the author for making this clear. They’re trying to survive this inspection and force Win to do his job.

Maisie needed someone. She found Joe. Not only did she find companionship, she earned it through her attention to him.

Win needed to stand up for what he really believed in. Believing he was going to be fired anyway, and grieving for Maisie, he found the strength to do just that. Whether he stays on or not, he’s won a victory.

Con: Win’s accomplishment is very minor. Masie finds her way to the next world without his help.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 83)
Susan Palwick Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

Follow RSR on Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or E-mail.

3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I'm not sure I liked this as much as you did, but it was definitely a very interesting and affecting story.

  2. I think this one will end up in a lot of year's bests for 2018.

  3. Very touching. The characterization in this is stellar - both patients and hospital workers.