Saturday, February 12, 2011


Short Story by Steve Rasnic Tem

The most bland, boring one-word title in an issue full of bland one-or-two-word titles. There is only one title I like in this issue, but this is perhaps the most accurate: it precedes an awfully bland, boring story.

Two parents go to visit their son in cryosleep. Then they talk to him and leave. The only suspense is wondering when an obnoxious woman on the bus will shut up, why exactly the son is in cryosleep, which we aren't told until well into the story, despite the parents obviously knowing, and what obscure rules they worry they might be breaking. Basically the only drama is artificial or irrelevant.

The conversation could have been more interesting but it ends up just coming across as bland to me. The musing on parental advice is likewise old hat. And the whole thing is too long on top of all that boring.

The central idea isn't original, but the way the mother deals with it toward the end is both interesting and sweet. I just wish we'd been allowed to know what rules she worried she was breaking, so we could stop wondering about that and pay more attention to the way she bent them. It is hard to have a clever circumvention of the rules seem clever when you don't tell the reader the rules you got around until the last page.

2 out of 5 cryogenically frozen kids dream of wasting their time in more exciting ways.

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