Thursday, May 4, 2017

James, In the Golden Sunlight of the Hereafter, by Adam-Troy Castro

Read this issue
(Afterlife Fantasy) James really enjoys Heaven, but he wonders why he can’t find his wife and kids anywhere. (6,380 words; Time: 21m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 84, published on .

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

Pro: The description of the afterlife is consistently interesting, and we root for James to do the right thing and find something to do for his wife and kids.

Con: The treatment of James’s family—particularly the small kids—is so brutal and senseless that it abruptly turns a fun story into a really painful one.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 84)
Adam-Troy Castro Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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

5 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I find it more nuanced than the Pro you give above. I wasn't rooting for him. I was considering the difficulty of the choices.

    To give up one persons complete happiness forever to allow another to suffer marginally less forever. I can see the turmoil of the angels that they can't succeed in their aim of doing the best with a bad situation.

    The selfless love the protagonist holds here causes him moral torture and it states this is true for nearly all in heaven, and this guarantees torture for all, in heaven or hell, even if its just the knowledge their loved ones are suffering.

    There are even some parallels with parents of children with sever and painful disabilities and disorders, as well as the comparison drawn in the story with pleasure stopping you hearing the pain around you.

    I also REALLY liked the painfully harrowing descriptions of hell, and description of happiness in heaven. They made the story stand out and make you sit up and notice (though the obvious cop out with describing his sons torture is a bit grinding with "the worst thing possible is worse than you can imagine" trope).

    It's the most original thing I have heard in months. 5/5

  2. I'm not sure originality alone is enough. Have a look at This World Is Full of Monsters, by Jeff VanderMeer. I didn't care for it much, as my review shows, but it's hard to beat in terms of descriptiveness and originality.

    1. If you like it better than I did, by all means post there and say so. A big part of the fun here is supposed to be discussing the stories, and different opinions are key to making that work.

  3. At least in the few stories I've read by Adam-Troy Castro, he seems to take a slightly amusing absurdity and exaggerate it to point where it's almost painful for me to finish reading.