Monday, February 4, 2019

Deriving Life, by Elizabeth Bear

★★★☆☆ Average

(Medical SF) Marq knew their spouse would die from the intelligent alien parasite they’d accepted some years ago, but now that the time has come, they have a lot of trouble dealing with it. (9,163 words; Time: 30m)

"," by (edited by Beth Meacham), published on by .

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

Review: 2019.083 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: It’s pretty much a story about how Marq dealt with the death of their spouse and the aftermath.

The intelligent alien parasite reminded me of Needle, by Hal Clement and The Puppet Masters, by Robert A. Heinlein.

Con: The story didn’t make me feel any emotion at all. For some reason I couldn’t make myself care about any of the characters. It’s a truism that reading about a depressed person is deadly dull, so that might be the problem, but I think the real problem is that nothing in the story made Marq a real person; they were defined entirely by their suffering and nothing else.

Beyond that, there’s no real tension or excitement in the story.

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3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. 4-stars from me. I did feel emotion as I was reading this and it was very touching at the end. Worth reading in my opinion.

    I will admit a story about a dying spouse is not going to find favor with every reader. For me the tension was what was Marq going to do to themselves after the funeral ?

    1. I dunno. Usually a story about someone dying pulls at my heartstrings and I have to make an effort not to overreact to it. (If it makes me cry, I have a knee-jerk reaction to give it 5 stars on the spot.) But, for whatever reason, this one just didn't move me.

  2. This one made me cry. It just got bumped off my Hugo ballot by something I read later.