Thursday, January 30, 2020

Where You Linger, by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

★★★★☆ A Tale of Loss and Redemption

(SF Drama) The narrator undergoes a special treatment that lets her revisit (and change) key memories that trouble her—all of which involve people she had sex with. (10,018 words; Time: 33m)

By its nature, the story has countless sex scenes, but it isn’t really erotica.

"Where You Linger," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 32, published on .

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

Review: 2020.058 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: At the highest level, this story is about Ms. Moore trying to cope with memories she can’t live with: specifically, memories of how she ruined her marriage. She doesn’t care so much about the older ones, but to use this new technology that will let her relive and even revise her memories, she has to revisit all of her sexual relationships in order.

The story opens with her making a list, and it includes perfunctory descriptions of each relationship. It’s important to realize that the whole story isn’t like this. Once the list is done, she goes to the clinic, submits to the procedure, and proceeds to relive each of these experiences in more detail.

Her path through these memories is generally interesting, particularly when she drags along a young version of herself who proceeds to comment critically on the different decisions that Ms. Moore made over the years.

The ending is particularly heartening: Ms. Moore has revisited all of her relationships and seems to recognize the extent to which she contributed to each of them failing or fizzling, but she particularly sees how profoundly she failed her ex-wife. In the phone message, she takes all the blame, and promises to leave Dover alone. But, best of all, she deletes that whole message without sending it. After all, if she’s serious about leaving Dover alone, that starts with not bothering her. Maybe the treatment really did work.

Con: Because we know it’s (essentially) all a dream, there’s no real tension or excitement, and, for some reason, the main character never grew on me.

Other Reviews: Search Web
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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

No comments (may contain spoilers):

Post a Comment (comment policy)