Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Through the Veil, by Jennifer Marie Brissett


(Science Fiction) When her project on interdimensional travel is cancelled, a researcher steals her equipment and continues her research in secret. (3,463 words; Time: 11m)

"," by (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas), appeared in issue 34, published on .

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

Review: 2020.288 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: A few hints in the story suggest the narrator is a woman, and that’s how I experienced it, so I’ll run with that.

She’s upset that her project was cancelled before she got to the point of attempting interdimensional travel, but it’s quickly obvious that things aren’t really going the way they ought to. She’s sleeping where particles from the accelerator can reach her, and she’s showing symptoms of radiation poisoning.

It’s clear that she didn’t really like her life much even before the institution canceled her project. To be accepted, she had to suppress who she really was, with the result that all of life was “beige.” Even if her experiments are killing her, they’re letting her experience a brighter, happier world.

Con: The most plausible way to read this sotry is that the protagonist is an unreliable narrator, who just wasn’t cut out to be a scientist. In that reading, she takes dangerous equipment home and kills herself with it. This story is her suicide note. That’s both depressing and has no speculative element.

But it’s hard to read it otherwise. The science in the story is all pretty bad. E.g. talking about “other dimensions.” And when she speculates that her project got cancelled because they wanted to steal her ideas, my immediate thought was, “she only imagines she got useful results.”

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