Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Things I Miss the Most, by Nisi Shawl

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Medical SF) After a new epilepsy treatment, a girl’s imaginary friend becomes all too real. (3,520 words; Time: 11m)

"The Things I Miss the Most," by (edited by Dominik Parisien), appeared in issue 24, published on .

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

Review: 2018.514 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Superficially, this tells how the narrator gets a special treatment to cure her epilepsy. A side effect is an extremely vivid imaginary friend. So vivid that she doesn’t form friendships with anyone else. But when the treatment ends, the friend vanishes, and she mourns the loss, even years later.

The story makes Angelique real for us, and we too mourn her passing—even though we recognize that she had to go.

Sometimes when people are cured (or largely cured) of a serious illness, they miss it in a strange sort of way. I heard this from people who'd expected to die from AIDS when the new treatments came out. They were happy for the cure, but off-balance from the way it changed their identities from terminal patients to people ready to rejoin the workforce. This story reminded me of them, except that in the narrator's case, her illness is personified.

Con: The narrator doesn’t have much agency in this story. She chooses to start the treatment, but when it comes time to turn it off, her parents force her to over her objections. That takes a lot of the energy out of it.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 24)
Nisi Shawl Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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