Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Marley and Marley, by J.R. Dawson

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(Time Travel) At age 12, Marley loses her parents, but instead of getting foster parents, her 28-year-old future self comes to take care of her. (6,937 words; Time: 23m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"Marley and Marley," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 11-12|17, published on by .

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

Pro: The essential plot is that Marley wants her husband back. Despite the rules, she accomplishes it, so it has a happy ending.

The author does a good job of letting us know that small modifications to the time stream go undetected. She also hints that Marley and Jason are “nobodies” so perhaps saving him would still count as small.

Narration and dialogue are spot on.

Con: When young Marley is the focus, old Marley controls her life, but when old Marley is the focus, young Marley is in control. The result is that the focus character is always weak.

It’s hard to believe that she’d have been willing to leave a living Jason for six years. The change should have broken the loop.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I don't think that is the "plot," here.

    This story is about the duality of knowing who you were in the past; who you'll be in the future. It's wrapped up with the very neat SF premise of using future selves to mentor the young and desperate -- and in doing so, manages the neat trick of making small iterations of change and progress.

    Saving the husband is almost a McGuffin (although it's a good one!). Much more to the point is that Marley hasn't stayed in the constraints of what she "might" have been; she's transformed herself into a person who can save him, and change her own life.

    1. I usually try to indicate the "surface plot" as well as the deeper one.

      But do you think Marley transformed herself? Or was it her future selves who did it? That matters because the "real" Marley is the thread we're following. Those other Marley's are (for my money) different characters.