Friday, July 6, 2018

Morbier, by R.S. Benedict

[F&SF]
★★★★☆ Clever tale that Rewards Rereading

(Time Travel) Mara has no id and suffers under the delusion she’s from the future. Trish gets her a job at the country club anyway. That may have been a mistake. (4,686 words; Time: 15m)


"Morbier," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 07-08|18, published on by .

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

Pro: The plot is all about how Mara came from a horrible dystopia in 2093 to kill the whole Geier family in order to try to change history. Presumably she kills herself to avoid causing unplanned changes, e.g. if the police got her to talk and someone important believed she really did come from the future.

Mara drops lots of hints along the way, which makes a reread delicious. We know the 2093 dystopia is homophobic because she freaks out about two guys marrying, saying “The government has you on a list now.” We suspect she stored the poison in the fridge because she kept going back to check it regularly. And, of course, asked about killing Hitler, she remarks that you’d need to kill a lot more people.

Although Trish ends up saying she can’t be sure if Mara was a real time traveler or if she was just crazy, but the fact that she knew exactly what and how Geier wanted to be served speaks volumes.

It’s cute the way the different sections of the story also jump around in time.

When it says that Ivan learned something about himself, I think that means he learned that even though he might hate the rich people, he didn’t want to see them die. He talks tough, but he’s not a killer.

Con: The characters never quite came to life for me. I’m not sad for Trish or Mara at the end.

The bad characters seem like caricatures. E.g. the grandmother who only opened her mouth to make ethnic slurs or fat-based insults.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I really loved this one. Gripping throughout, and... it sneaks up on you so very, very well.

    In general, I'm head-over-heels in awe with R.S. Benedict. My English Name, Water Dog's God, and now Morbier are all outstanding, very vivid piece. Full of voice and impeccably constructed.

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